Saturday, February 23, 2008

Cuyo


I can't decide if I hate Cuyo, or love it. I mean, I'm positive I don't really want to play it, much, mostly because of level three. You'll see why in a second. But it's a weird combination of total rip-off and amazing variation that has me sort of questioning myself in a broad way, while having no interest in it in a specific way.

It's sorta like Tetris. Only it's different in tons of ways. Firstly, and more broadly than any other difference, is the fact that pieces are only two parts, rather than the four that make up every Tetris piece. Outside of that, the basics are the same. You want to combine like parts so that they are eliminated from the field of play.

Here's the thing: the types of pieces, the way they interact on the field of play, and the way they combine for elimination are all different with each level. The first level, for example, seems to be snot-inspired. You have to get six like pieces touching one another vertically or horizontally (no diagonals) to make them disappear. When they disappear, they explode, and you win the level not by making a set number disappear, but by exploding in the right places to destroy a pre-set collection of pieces.

Each level has these pre-set pieces. Blowing up blocks next to them makes them go away, and when they're all eliminated, you beat the level. That's the only constant. For example, in level four, pieces only connect to other pieces when they're diagonal to another piece of the same type, which is antithetical to all of the preceding levels, where diagonals don't count.

Level three is the devil, though. Mind you, there are probably a vast number of devils in this game. Level three makes me think these people are evil masterminds. So I can only assume that there are more evilly masterminded levels later on; level three is the first evil level. Why is it evil? The blocks change depending on what they land next to.

See, it's based on Apple Basic. Rather than shapes dropping from the sky, Apple Basic statements drop. 'To', or '""', or '42', (is that a Douglas Adams nod?), for example. Which is geektastic - my Basic programming took place under MS-DOS, but it's still cool. What's crazy is that as blocks drop down, and land next to other blocks, they change to make different statements in Basic. It's sort of easy for the first little bit, but after a while, remembering what's what is virtually impossible, when you're intoxicated and haven't coded in Basic for ten years.

It's absolutely brilliant. But a total pain in the ass. I'm pretty sure I don't like it, but I'm positive that I respect it. Just playing the handful of levels I played, this game has a lot of versatility and variability within a very restricted rule-set. It's awesome, as a demonstration of how minute changes in mechanics can have widespread effects as far as actual gameplay are concerned.

Graphically, it's not very great, and it has no sound. But if you like Tetris and Sudoku, this is neither. Hah! You thought I was going to say something else, didn't you? You were right, I must admit. While being neither, its gameplay is a weird mish-mash of both of those types of puzzle-games (sometimes, anyways), so yeah, you should probably toy with it for a bit if you're into them. Otherwise, it's most likely not Steer clear if you don't enjoy frustrating real-time puzzles that also ask for logic.

4 comments:

Kerstin said...

Hey, I just found your blog when I asked google for cuyo. Did you ever get past level 18 ("Teeth")? I just don't get it, it seems...
Btw, as a crafter, my favorite level is level 2 :) isn't it cute! :D

Kerstin said...

Ha... right after I posted this comment I got it. Am now at "Tetris". :)

Devlocke said...

I must confess, I didn't get anywhere near that far. I think I finally quit playing around level six or seven. It just wasn't the kind of game I'm super into.

I am in awe of your prowess, however. :)

Kerstin said...

lol, thanks. I love games like that even though they drive me insane sometimes. some of the levels are really hard. would be good to know how many levels there are alltogether... do you have any idea?