Qbism from Blowfish Studios is an interesting new game that stands out in the sea of iPhone puzzle games. The premise of the game is fairly simple. You have a three dimensional shape made up of smaller cubes. The shape is "empty", showing just the outline, and the cubes that are to make it up are scattered about the screen. It's your job to slide each cube into an appropriate space in the empty outline to create the shape. It's a clever concept, and is executed really well in Qbism.

Qbism is all about perspective, and forces you to think in three dimensions. From one angle, it may look like you've slid all your cubes into the right place. Then you spin the puzzle to a different angle, and realize that one of your pieces is way out of position. Oftentimes there are cubes that belong in the middle of the puzzle, surrounded by other cubes. You have to think ahead so as not to block your path to the middle of the shape. With some puzzles I've swore I had it figured out correctly, only to find that when I ripped apart all the pieces I had just put together there was a blank spot I had blocked that went unseen. It only gets more complicated as the puzzles increase in size to 4x4 and 5x5, as the initial puzzles are 3x3 and can still be quite difficult.

Levels are unlocked linearly, one after another. This means that if you get stuck on a certain level, you can't really progress. Thankfully, it sounds like this is being rectified in an update. If you do end up getting stuck on any of the puzzles, you can choose Hint from the Options screen. This clears the field of all cubes and allows you to spin the outline in any direction, giving you a better idea of the puzzle's overall shape.

The aesthetics of this game are clean and simple, but it still manages to look pretty impressive. The cubes are shaded nicely and the shadows change dynamically as the puzzle is moved around. In the options screen, you can choose to use cubes of several different solid colors or cubes made of wood grains. Both look quite nice.

When you slide a cube into a correct position, a smattering of tiny stars burst from the placed cube, signaling it's in a valid spot. You can use this visual cue to help you solve the puzzle easier, as well as the counter in the upper right corner that keeps track of how many cubes are in a correct position out of the total cubes available. Once the puzzle is complete, the three dimensional object can be spun in any direction with your finger, which allows you to appreciate it for a few moments before moving on to the next puzzle. The accompanying menus and UI are simple to negotiate and look nice as well. Puzzle games don't generally need to blow your mind with graphics, but Qbism still manages to be really visually pleasing.

The thing that makes me like this game the most is that it really caters to both casual and hardcore players. There's no set time limit, and you're free to toy around with any of the puzzles for as long as you want until you figure it out. But all the while, they are tracking how long it takes you to complete a puzzle, total times you moved cubes, and total times you spun the puzzle.

If you enjoy puzzle games, this is a great purchase. It has a relaxing effect as you mull over a puzzle and move shapes into place, reminiscent of Zen Bound in a way. And if you want it to, it has a fantastic amount of re-playability by way of improving your previous scores. There's over 100 puzzles to unlock, and based on Blowfish Studio's posts in the forum thread, there are some meaty extra modes coming very soon via updates. There is a lite to try, so no excuse not to check this game out.

App Store Link: Qbism, $1.99, Qbism Lite, Free

TouchArcade Rating

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  • russiaone

    What?! WOW! An iPhone game? I thought every new game from here on out would be on iPad! WOW! I'm shocked. Sarcasm for the muthastinkin' WIN!

  • http://Www.moistproduction.com Moist

    Yep, there should be seperate sections of iphone/ipad.
    Almost abandoned the site thinking it had just become about ipad...
    Interesting game though...

  • doozer

    @Moist - Me too.. glad to see some actual iPod/Phone games back. Sick to death of the Pad hype.

    • http://www.moistproduction.com moist

      Nothing wrong with the iPad, I plan on grabbing one later this summer. Still very interested in iPhone games right now...

  • http://www.buzzabit.com/aaron Aaron Sullivan

    As far as I can tell, Touch Arcade has had iPhone news every day leading up to and since the iPad launch. Sort of astonishing considering most app devs are trying to catch the iPad wave atm. Really can't fault them and I don't see a reason for another section. I'm sure the vast majority of readers are interested in what the device will mean to their future gaming on their current device.

    Just sayin'.

    • http://www.buzzabit.com/aaron Aaron Sullivan

      Also, if there is such pent up interest in iPhone games, maybe someone should discuss the one mentioned in the article. All I see is discussion of the iPad. :(

      I will give this advice to the dev. It needs a "hook". It looks a bit too generic at the moment. Otherwise, seems solid.

  • Adam

    Im glad this game is featured on the homepage, its a fun game.

  • Mr. Gates

    This almost exactly like " MonoSpace "

  • http://www.blowfishstudios.com/qbism ben@blowfishstudios

    Quick note that the first major update has just been approved by Apple and it should be available for download any moment.

    Mr Gates, yes while both Qbism and MonoSpace rely on 3D perception, both have very different gameplay mechanics. I'd recommend playing both as they are both enjoyable to play ;)

    Aaron, we have received that advice from another reviewer. While we think the graphics are quite nice, we are taking the advice on board and improving the looks and game play modes. The new update is a small step in that direction.