July 23, 2015 5:30 AM | Joel Couture
I accept that glitches show up in games sometimes. My NES was pretty prone to freaking out, especially with the Game Genie in it, so I'm used to distorted audio and bizarre visual occurrences. Still, these incidences never felt purposeful, and were simply quirks of the system and games not getting along well. There was nothing guiding these strange sounds and visuals. Strawberry Cubes is a controlled form of glitch, feeling loaded with menace and maliciousness as you attempt to understand the logic of why the game's world seems to be in constant flux.
Strawberry Cubes is about finding meaning in a game world that makes that very, very difficult, keeping tangible reality hidden behind frightening visuals and surreal effects. The game world's reality is ever-changing, breaking rules about gameplay and control at every turn. You cannot rely on any form of knowledge you think you have about games as you play, as things may change at any moment. You could transition to a whole other world in the middle of the screen, fall through the ground, or have the narrative suddenly break down in ways that don't appear to make any sense. Discovering why you're navigating this place is a big part of the game, and completing the game may not be enough to give you that information. It will take time to understand this one.
As a study of the glitch and the uncertainty it gives to previously concrete worlds, Strawberry Cubes has some interesting things to say through its feverish visuals. It's an experience in looking at the world around you and realizing you know nothing about it, fostering a fear that comes from watching all of the knowledge and truth in your life crumble before an incomprehensible force. It's most frightening in that it is all a purposeful construct - something made by a person and therefore bound by a certain logic. There is a meaning here, even if it is very difficult to grasp. As an exploration of glitches and the erosion of certainty, it's an intriguing game.