Sunday, May 25, 2008


There are many reasons for my extended absence, but the most recently relevant is that KJumpingCube was too smart for me. I got a new job, my power supply died, and I started playing Knights of the Old Republic but all of that had been dealt with a few days ago. All that's been keeping me from posting for those past three or four days is the fact that I can't figure this damn game out.

It should be simple. You click on squares in a grid, sort of like Mines (review here), only clicking on them doesn't uncover them, it just gives a +1 to the value of the square and, if the square is neutral, makes it yours. All squares start out neutral, with a value of one. The goal is to make every square your own.

It's a classic world domination game, if we assume that the world consists of a simple grid which itself consists of a collection of numerical values.

And it totally sounds simple, doesn't it? Things get complicated with the following statement from the rules: "If a square has more points than it has neighbors, the points jump to its neighbors and take them over."

Which, in and of itself, also sounds simple. But the way it plays out, I just can't scrute. I've tried off and on, for a few minutes here and there, for the past week and a half. And every time I think I know exactly what it means, it behaves in some weird way that belies the explanation for previous behavior I've so studiously developed.

I'm not even going to get into it. If you're really curious, or you think I've missed something extremely basic, feel free to comment. I'll respond there. The basic premise of the game seems either fundamentally arcane or fundamentally flawed, and either way, it both irritated and shamed me so badly I've been putting off updating this blog despite the fact that I got a new PSU days ago.

KJumpingCube makes me feel less a man. I have this sort of... faith, for lack of a better word, in the innate sensibleness of the open-source community. They may make games that are ugly, or boring, or broken, but they do not make games that I can't figure out. For god's sake, I figured out Einstein (review here). (That was a joke; Einstein is not a hard game to figure out) KJumpingCube is ugly, and would be boring (to me) if I could understand what was going on. It gains interest-points it doesn't deserve by virtue of being seemingly inconsisten.

I can't recommend it, but I feel like I can't pass a judgement on it at all, because I can't understand it. This game is a failure on my part. If you like two-player logic puzzles (with bad AI - I don't know what I'm doing, but still never managed to lose a game) then you might both enjoy this and be able to figure out by what method the game mechanics operate. More power to you.

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