This intriguing puzzle game made a splash on many different official Playstation demo discs around the world near it’s release in 1997, and this has led to Kurushi’s simple to play, hard to master puzzle gameplay to be much sort after more than ten years since.

How to play

The premise to Kurushi is simple, remove all cubes from the screen without falling off the edge or touching the blocks as they move towards you, surviving requires quick thinking and perfect timing.

Four rows of cubes move towards Eliot.

Eliot can target one block at a time, but the main strategy comes from using green advantage cubes to remove multiple blocks in a 3×3 space, and using the extra time afforded by chaining multiple patterns of cubes.

Nine squares vanish in a flash of bight white light.

The main challenge comes from avoiding the black forbidden cubes which should not be touched and left to fall off the edge. Every forbidden cube captured means losing one section of the gameplay surface.

Eliot falls off the edge of the level, the game says to try again...

The challenges

Perfect scores for each round can be gained by removing all cubes (and avoiding forbidden cubes) as well as giving you more points, perfect scores increase the level length making each round a bit easier.

A perfect result is gained for this round in the 6th stage.

A counter in the top right measures how carefully the player has managed to complete each round within a small number of moves. The smaller the number of moves the greater the bonus.

Lots of forbidden cubes pile up on the 8th stage..

The mindset you have to adopt to play Kurushi is used in the narrative – the game becomes an elaborate intelligence test from a mysterious power. This leads to the American title for the game; Intelligent Qube.

A black screen indicates the player IQ of 168.

Encouraging lateral thinking

The game over screen is stark, but helpfully displays your progress within the game, encouraging you to continue attempting to strive against cubes moving endlessly towards you, the pace of the game is unrelenting.

The game over screen asks if you wish to continue.

Extra columns are added to the puzzles as the stage number increases increasing the difficulty of the game dramatically. Additionally the increase in forbidden cubes mean that the game gets extremely tricky quite quickly.

A number of forbidden cubes roll off the edge of the level.

Additional characters can be unlocked by completing the games standard mode. This extra players can move faster than Eliot and make the difficult later puzzles much easier to do in quicker steps.

A partly completed puzzle nears the end.

Divine intervention?

The visuals of the game gives it quite a unique feel, the story plays on this emphasisizing the fact that Kurushi is not just a puzzle game for the sake of it, but a test of patience, spontaneity and will.

The cubes pile up in a wave, ready for the 8th stage.

The music for the game is a grandoise soundtrack compromising of a mix of choirs and stringed instruments as Eliot struggles to solve the puzzles. It is startling and brilliant compared to most other for puzzle game music.

The targeting system highlights the next set of cubes to go.

Given the difficulty of the game, your scores feel like a genuine achievement, particulary as the chance to lose it completely looms ever closer with each stage. Higher scores are particulary satisfying once you master it.

Eliot falls down into the gloom as the final score is displayed."