Voodoo Dice is a puzzle game from developer Exkee that centres on moving, you guessed it, a six-sided die – though you may struggle to fathom what voodoo has got to do with anything.
It’s an interesting start, as Exkee have tried to do something a little bit different with the menu structure, using the game avatar to move about a map to select the various options – this follows on for selecting the game world (of which there are four) and the different levels within these. In all there are sixty of them to scratch your head around.
Things start off fairly plain and simple with the first level getting the player to neutralise planted dice by matching the numbers on top. When this is accomplished, the matched die disappears, freeing the path, at least partially, to the end-of-level goal. For each of these there is a “Voodoo” time to beat and doing so can earn you a shiny achievement. These are pretty tight, so will require working out how to complete things before going for that extra speed run. Completing a level gains the player an emerald, allowing gateways to further maps and dicing campaigns to be unlocked.
As things progress the game introduces more concepts like toggle switches, weight switches, teleports and moveable statues. The game does try to mix things up a bit, so not everything is about matching numbers, even presenting the player with a secondary cube to make up a cuboid to breach bigger gaps across the maps at times.
The problem with Voodoo Dice is it really isn’t much fun. As interesting a concept as matching numbers on the top of dice is, something that takes a bit of thought to get right, it feels like a chore rather than an achievement (and actually those are really pretty basic and lacking in imagination).
Things like the teleport, which is a smart game idea, have annoyances. Moving a statue through a teleport to get it into a position to hold a switch for example, means you will need to push it out of the teleport at its destination. This causes the player’s die to beam to the previous point, only to have to teleport again to get back to the statue, for the love of Scotty! It’s not for the irascible. This type of frustration is compounded by the fact that if you make a mistake, say by moving a statue to a point where it can no longer reach its destination, the whole level must be restarted. Irritating if this is accidental and an “undo”, even if limited or time penalised would have saved a lot of pain.
Should the irksome single player levels drive you insane, Voodoo Dice also supports up to four-player multiplayer. Sadly this option is local only and not across Xbox Live. Still, there are a couple of different game types here, including racing opponents to the finish, keeping a flag and arcade mode where the goal is to destroy more dice than anyone else – it’s just a bit of a squeeze on screen.
Voodoo Dice is relatively cheap weighing in at 800 MSPs, and there is enough here to keep you going for a couple of hours. The question really is, will you want to play it for that long? The answer is probably not.
Marty has been gaming since the heady years of the ZX-81 and still owns most of the gaming systems purchased since those days, including the Atari 2600, ZX Spectrum, SNES, Jaguar, Dreamcast and GameCube. Being a collection junkie (or more accurately, hoarder), he buys more games than he can possibly play, far too many of which are still sealed in their packaging. Marty favours RPGs and Driving games when it comes to genres, and is possibly a little bit too addicted to Disgaea. When not gaming he’s out frightening OAPs on his motorcycle, clad in black leather.