Genre: Strategy, Indie
Developer: Three Sprockets
Publisher: Three Sprockets
Release Date: 16 Mar 2012
At the price of an expensive sandwich Cubemen delivers a satisfying tower defence experience that takes the simpler elements of strategy titles to add additional depth and originality to a genre that has been bled dry by the iOS Appstore. Developed and published by the Australian based indie company Three Sprockets, Cubemen intrigued me at first with its clean voxel based visuals and innovative gameplay. While the graphics are crisp and fit with the games simplistic style well, the gameplay falls slightly short of its claim to be a tower defence game “like you’ve never seen or experienced before”.
Cubemen attempts to break the mould of the classic tower defence genre that has become so overdone and it partially succeeds in this. The 3D maps with different levels of height can give your units cover from the enemies ranged attacks, they also slow down the enemy units greatly allowing your cubemen to pick them off. The maps often seem quite overwhelming with all the different paths the enemies can take, but after a few failures you soon learn where the best places to bulk up your defences are against the horde. Although once realised, the ‘Zerg rush’ tactic of spamming the basic unit becomes an all too effective way of conquering all but the toughest maps. Attempts to play the game without using such cheap methods resulted in being quickly overwhelmed even on the beginning stage.
Cubemen’s style gives it the potential to stand out in the stagnant tower defence genre, but lack of fresh content holds it back. The units are the classic cheap but low damage guy, flamethrower bro, slow ray chap and high damage but slow reload dude. The addition of a healer unit makes things interesting as he must be placed within effective range of your forces, but protected against harm. Although only if he doesn’t bug out and disappear or become stuck in a wall, as occurred to me 3/5 times I spawned them. Yes, bugs. Freezing, crashing, units getting stuck are all frequent problems. To have a 15 minute battle taken out from under you at the last hurdle because of a bug, is more than frustrating.
In the online skirmish mode, sending your units on different paths really forces your enemy to constantly move their own defences, making for an entertaining and challenging experience, compared to the single player mode which requires little implementation of strategy beyond spamming. On the more complex maps can provide an intense struggle, providing you have a competent human opponent, this is an impressive feature in Cubemen and one I wish to see more of in other games in the genre.
Cubemen Update Review (v1.1) PC Written By Maider Uribarri
Three Sprockets have released a new update for their tower defense-esque game, Cubemen. There are many impressive enhancements, some of which include an extra fourteen new levels!
The free update introduces online co-operative play with mayhem mode, 14 new levels and the ability to customise units.
The new mayhem mode brings some seriously intense multiplayer action to Cubemen for the first time – players get to experience the chaos with up to 6 buddies online, or individually in the 6 new multiplayer levels. The mode also introduces a lobby chat system to keep you entertained whilst you wait for your game to begin.
Players also, now have more customisation options for their units, with the added twelve new colours schemes and eight new costumes (including ninja and skeleton suits).
The game also includes three new Skirmish levels and five new defence levels, as well as introducing (SID) the new deadly Sniper unit, armed with tracer bullets.
Updates in v1.1:
New Mayhem Mode
- 2 – 6 players online (or mixed with AI) gameplay on 6 new maps!
- Individual or team based games
- Host decides team selection and whether the AI will fill empty player slots
- In lobby chat system for players waiting for a game to start (Only on Mayhem mode)
- Cubemen Customisation
- Customise both, your units and enemy units
- 12 different colours!
- 8 new additional textures (ninja, eyepatch, skeleton etc)
- Improved Network Games
- Network games are now never cancelled when a player disconnects
- AI will take over the dropped player(s) and the game will continue as before
- New Levels
- 6 new Mayhem levels
- 3 new Skirmish levels
- 5 new Defence levels
New Features & Improvements
- New Sniper Unit (SID). Deadly tracer bullets, massive range but low health
- Cycle through your units on the map with the , and . keys
- Improved unit selection on maps
- Set the number of waves for both Skirmish & Mayhem games (20, 30, 40, 50, Unlimited)
- Set the AI difficulty for both Skirmish & Mayhem games (for those that want more of a challenge)
- Added [Join Game] button to the main screen as well as a brand new lobby system that shows both Skirmish and Mayhem games on the same screen for easy game joining
- Private game system has been re-made so that players must use a password to join the game. All games are shown in the lobby and those that require passwords have a padlock
- Enemy Boss rain attack revised
- Levels colour strip now match your cubemen colour selection
- You can now set Force 60hz or use Display Hz in the game options screen
- New info button for Skirmish and Mayhem games, that when on, shows the player names above towers and extended enemy info, but when off, shows minimal enemy info for less screen clutter
- 17 new achievements to earn
- Ability to set a “pause” between waves in Skirmish vs. AI games or have the waves spawn non-stop
- Ability to see your NPC units path to enemy base target in Mayhem modes
- Improved Performance
- A lot of optimisation and re-factoring has gone into this update to improve the overall performance and allow for faster updates in future
- Lots of bug fixes!
The added features certainly improved the game and I found it much more enjoyable with the new updates!
An interesting attempt to merge tower defence and elements of strategy games, although sloppy in its implementation.
A great looking game, the vibrant colours contrast well with the grey of the maps making the cubemen really come alive.
The music fits the sci-fi setting well and builds gradually to a fast paced electro beat as the action really heats up. The satisfying squeaks of the smaller enemies as they explode into a shower of cubes and points is a nice touch.
If you are looking for a few hours of tower defence fun then it is worth the relatively low price tag. This isn’t the future of tower defence/strategy hybrids yet but it is a step in the right direction. If you aren’t a fan of tower defence games I would give this title a miss, if you are a die-hard fan of the genre I recommend picking it up for the multiplayer.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.