Weird and complicated. That's what you'll probably think when you first play You, Me and the Cubes, the new WiiWare puzzle game from Japanese developer Kenji Eno (Altered Beast, D). But really it's neither. It's essentially a weight distribution conundrum that tests how quickly you're able to balance floating cubes against the clock.
It works like this: a cube is magically suspended in the void. Two "Fallos", the game's faceless little people (basically weights), are generated by shaking the Wii Remote. Then, using the pointer, two landing spots are selected, one for each Fallo (you can only send Fallos onto cubes two at a time). Then, with a flick forward, the Fallos are sent flying through the air towards the cube, landing as instructed.
Ideally, you want to place them so that after they land the cube hardly tilts at all, or is balanced. Place them so the weight isn't evenly distributed, however, and the cube will begin to tilt. Then gravity will take control, and the Fallos will begin to slide. If the cube tilts too much, they'll eventually fall off, spiralling with a heart-wrenching scream into the nothingness that is the void.
To complete a stage, at least one Fallo must be stood on each cube and remain there for the duration of a "Judging Period" (about three seconds). Even if you fling the required number of Fallos onto a cube, you can't move on unless you've got at least one Fallo on each cube. Once done, the camera rotates and a new cube appears. The process is then repeated.
Each stage plays out in the same way: you begin with one cube, then another is added, then another, up to a total of six. Once you've managed to balance the minimum number of Fallos within the time limit on all of the cubes, that's a stage over. Then it's on to the next. There are 36 stages, divided into six levels.
The game's subtle nuances add a crucial layer of depth. Not only are you battling against the clock, you're battling against yourself. When a Fallo falls into the abyss, five seconds are knocked off of your remaining time. There are also enemies to contend with. Sometimes when shaking the Wii Remote to create Fallos you'll hear a different sound from the controller speaker. This means that you've created a "Pale Fallow". These ghostly figures move around the cubes causing havoc, knocking Fallos off of their feet. But you can target them and send a regular Fallo to knock it out, adding ten seconds to your time limit as a reward.
You're also able to "buff" your Fallos with particularly clever placement. Fallos that trigger a "Good Play" are buffed so that they're extra stable for a short period and won't succumb to gravity's forces. Nail another Good Play and you'll get the wonderfully-named "Very Good Play", which further strengthens their resistance to the big G. When you're contending with six cubes, nailing Good Plays and Very Good Plays can be the difference between success and failure.