Voodoo Dice

I like a good challenge. I enjoy a game that makes me think, keeps me trying and eventually after hours of restarting again and again, probably has me throwing my controller against the wall in a fit of rage. And, the best thing for all those game makers out there is that I’m often very willing to pay for the pleasure of ripping my hair out! Lucky for me, Xbox Live Arcade has been a bubbling source of enjoyable puzzle games begging to be played and my latest venture had me tackling Voodoo Dice!

Unfortunately it left a lot to be desired… sucks to be me! Firstly, forget the Voodoo! There is none. The best this has to offer on tribal magic is the occasional quirky landscape feature and really has nothing to do with the game at all, resulting in what often looks like (in the earlier levels at least) a Crash Bandicoot throwback; *insert pouty face here*. It’s a shame really, as a bit of Hocus Pocus would inject some much needed playability into the game; the idea, although semi promising, fails to inject any excitement into game play.

The general notion is to navigate through a series of maps using your die. Standing between you and that supposedly Voodoo themed exit are a series of puzzle challenges ranging from numerical blockades which require you to match the number on your die face with the number on the rock in the way, pressure pads which can be weighted down by tactically moving numerical rocks onto them, and numerous other booby traps and annoying trickery. Unfortunately, by the time you get to a level where you really need to think, your brain has lost any interest in actually trying to clear it.

The pace of the game is far, far too slow and that my friends is its biggest downfall. I had grievances with the game before even getting to play a level after its attempt at a ‘quirky themed menu’ involved me having to navigate a die around a map just to select an option, leaving me frustrated and bored as a result! Getting to game content should not take longer than 15 seconds whether it’s novel or not, so if you’re going to make me take time to do it, at least make the game worth the wait!

For those who are still interested, there are multi player options which have a retake on races, capture the flag and head to head competitions, but the question is will any of your friends feel interested enough to buy it in the first place, let alone stay interested long enough to play it with you? Probably not, to be honest, so the point of it is rendered useless anyway.

There are some positives though, I’ll try not to be a complete negative Nora about the whole thing! The graphics are very colourful and… um… the music is okay.

The secrets to a good puzzle game are not very hard: addictiveness and re-playability. Make something fun to repeat and people will repeat it. Make it fast, snappy and a challenge with friends and you have yourself a winner. Four years after getting my Xbox 360 I still find myself playing the Hexic HD freebie; Voodoo Dice will be lucky if it’s not deleted by lunchtime.







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