Hello fellow Axeheads. Does anyone remember the NES title Kickle Cubicle? Yes, that's right; "Kickle Cubicle". Sadly, it's not a game about kicking people in the testicles. Nor is it about eating urinal cakes or busting up someone's office space. Mores the shame. I'd definitely play that game! Imagine; you enter the busy corporate office, power up by eating filthy urinal cakes and then tear shit up like you were playing Rampage on crack whilst your turncoat co-workers fall to their knees and beg forgiveness for telling the boss about you called in sick last Friday to go to a barbeque at your mate's house. YOU COMPLETE BASTARDS! Um... Let's move on.
So what exactly is Kickle Cubicle, then? It is, in fact, a really great grid based, action-puzzle game. The title follows the titular Kickle as he tries to save the Magical Kingdom from eternal winter. He does this by solving (mostly) single-screen puzzles, collecting coin bags and defeating each world's boss monster. Kickle's arsenal is comprised of two elements; freezing enemies into blocks which can then be kicked and the ability to lay an ice stump that can halt said sliding blocks. The key is to freeze enemies and then kick their frozen asses into open water to create new land, thus expanding the grid and opening up new paths to the level-ending coin bags.
The game starts simple, with basic enemies and situations. Soon enough however, you must contend with foes that can kick your blocks back at you, invincible swines that you can only run away from as well as environmental obstacles such as springs, bumpers and windmills. In conjunction with a slowly tightening time limit, these quickly turn Kickle Cubicle into an intense head-scratcher where you have to put both your lateral thinking and reflexes into turbo mode.
Another feather in Kickle Cubicle's well-doffed cap is it's simplicity. The game's graphics are crisp, clean and uncluttered. It's controls are extremely tight, easy to use and easy to understand. The difficulty is judged well; you never have anyone to blame for a death other than yourself. These factors combine to make it a game that has totally retained it's charm. Kickle Cubicle is just as much fun to play now as it was when it was released. And there aren't too many NES games that you can say that about these days... Oh alright, I lied. Yes there are. But hey, Kickle Cubicle belongs right up there among the best of them!