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Apr 21 2013

Review of Cubemen 2

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Props to 3 Sprockets for following in the footsteps of Call of Duty perfectly. The sequel to Cubemen, Cubemen 2, has features that can be closely linked to the original. The game seems to stay so close to the original’s mechanics and gameplay that this hardly deserves to be its own game. That’s not to say it’s a bad game though; It includes some addictive gameplay and maps that look cool and play well. So if you’re interested, I suggest you keep reading and remember, it’s hip to be square.

The basics of the game are simple. It is a tower-defense game, in which your tower is also where you spawn your units, which is also where the bad guys will try to attack you. Every time a bad guy jumps in your base you lose a life. You get 9 different people, called units, who all have different effects and weapons. Out of those nine there are two single use units, Waly and Milo. Waly turns into a wall that blocks enemies when he reaches his destination and Milo turns into a mine when he reaches his destination. The other 7 are in order from cheapest to most expensive: Grill, who carries a pistol; Flint, who carries a flamethrower; Larry, who carries a lightning rod that slows enemies; Moty, who uses a mortar but rarely hits his target; Ricky, who carries a rocket launcher; Lazlo, who carries a laser cannon; and Sid, the sniper. Overall, the power of each unit accords to its price, but Grill seems too powerful to be the cheapest unit that isn’t single use. His pistol can three shot some of the biggest enemies though sometimes I thank the lord he has the power he does.

You can customize the way your units look, from skeleton to robot.

You can customize the way your units look, from skeleton to robot.

Cubemen 2 offers two single player options, the defense campaign and the maps created by either 3 Sprockets, you, or other members of the community. The defense campaign takes about 3 and a ½ hours to complete, and consists of 15 levels. By playing it you learn many different strategies through being able to use only limited types of units, or having multiple enemy spawn points. It’s helpful for the way you play the game later, but it does get boring when you keep buying the one guy you can use and placing him somewhere he needs to be. Even though there’s some faults, the levels are well designed. Some of the levels will even intimidate you, as they aren’t particularly easy. The challenge of the game is good, it would be no fun to breeze through the levels, but the rise of the difficulty is paced horribly, producing a level that makes you severely pissed, and made me take my first break from the game. Plus, the levels always end up being a grind towards the end; they are very long and you mostly just have to watch your men as they endlessly shoot the bad guys.

Luckily, the AI in the game is some of the best I’ve seen, being able to figure out the shortest route to their destination, and rarely miss a target. Also, the unison of their shots is such a deadly combo, especially with a big bunch of Grills who can rapid fire to take out large enemies when shooting in said unison. The look of the game fits with the characters as well, and you can customize if you want the blocks to look plain grey, grassy, or even molten like a volcano. The simple graphics go with the simple units, which goes with the simple gameplay, which goes with the simple game. That’s the main idea of this game. Being simple. Now of course you could hurt your brain with some expert strategies, but I found that the best way of going is to play it simple. Sometimes the simple combination of Grill and Flint at every entry to the base works better than any power unit ever could. Sometimes the simple strategy of using Milo to place mines around your base will keep it safe. And sometimes simple little people with cubed heads are the most fun to watch attack each other.

A simple level, designed as a star.

A simple level, designed as a star.

The level creator for this game has helped people produce some great projects, and features a bunch of handy tools that make it easier and quicker. If you want to raise the map one level, you can simply press the “raise level” button. Now I’ll admit I ran from the feature at first, as it looked like a long process, but I worked up the courage to fiddle around with it, and after you figure out the tools, it can be fun to try to create something that people will love to play, or even a piece of 3D artwork. Unfortunately, you can only use a limited amount of blocks and there are certain requirements that have to be met before you can even save the level. This means you might end up having to create your level all in one shot, which could make for sloppy work.

The three multiplayer game modes (Skirmish, Territory, and CTF) in this game aren’t even close to good. Your units are hard to keep track of when you are monitoring an attack, as your defense might be flanked and then you’ll have an enemy who will just stand in your base slaughtering everything you try to spawn. In the skirmish game mode, one enemy in your base will mess you up bad, because the main focus is unarmed men coming out of your base and going into theirs, but every single one will be slaughtered by the player who invaded you and the points rack up pretty quick. The only maps you can play with three or more people are user-created, as 3 Sprockets created maps that are too small too include that amount of players, and you can make little to no progress towards your goal.

All of this adds up to a game that is still overpriced, even at $8. In fact, even if you enjoyed the original Cubemen, the only time you should buy this is if you’re desperate for a new Cubemen campaign or new maps. Although it may sound like I am, I’m not saying it’s a bad game. It’s addictive as hell. The problem is the lack of difference between it and it’s original. So I’ve decided I’ll give Cubemen 2 a 2 out of 5 stars. If you already own Cubemen, I suggest you hold off on buying this game, but it could be fun for any first-timers.

This article was written by Parker Kramer, a 12-year-old kid from Minnesota who loves to play RPGs (Not free-to-play ones though) and adventure games. He likes to game on the Xbox 360. You can find him there under the GT icyfirebombs. He also is on Steam under the same username. You can find him on twitter @theParkerKramer.

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