September has been a big month for games. October will be crazier, and it will all hit the fan in November when the holiday floodgates are opened and triple-A titles flow as freely as the cash from our wallets. Gamers everywhere will be hitting up game stores at midnight and dropping dozens of hours (hundreds in the case of Dark Souls and Skyrim) into the games of their choice. After playing for hours and hours you may find that you need a break from the deeply immersive, story driven games. You want something challenging, but fun. Something you can pick up, enjoy and put down. You want something like Cubixx HD.
In 2009, Cubixx was released as a PSP Mini. Developer Laughing Jackal has returned this title to the Playstation Network with a high definition upgrade and a number of new game modes. The idea is the same as it was on the PSP. Players control a laser-firing robot, and are presented with a cube floating in 3D space. Using the D-Pad, players navigate the white edges of the cube, cutting away each side while racking up the highest score possible. Scores go higher by cutting longer lines, completing special tasks (such as cutting away half the side with one line) and acquiring power boosters. The premise is simple, but the game is made more difficult by adding a variety of enemies including orange squares called Cubixx that wander the sides of the cube and Line Chasers that hunt players down on the white edges. Later stages introduce further challenges like homers, black holes, and asteroids.
The high degree of challenge in Arcade Mode makes this game worth the time and money. Arcade Mode boasts fifty levels broken down across ten stages, with each stage more difficult than the last. New elements, like the ones mentioned above, are added as you go from stage to stage. Arcade Mode has the added bonus of supporting 7-player co-op. All of this, in my opinion, is worth the price of admission, but Laughing Jackal didn’t stop there.
Cubixx HD also includes five other game modes: Time Attack, Score Attack, Line Attack, Challenges and Death Match. The Attack modes force players to focus on one aspect of the game, whether it is finishing the level as fast as possible, racking up the highest overall score possible or getting the highest line score possible. Each of the Attack modes can be played with up to seven people allowing for either co-op or versus. Challenges are exactly what they claim to be, with new puzzles unlocked as you complete stages. For each one, players can be awarded a bronze, silver or gold cube. Fifty challenges, ranging from time trials to finishing with the fewest lines, extend the game significantly. Finally, there is the multiplayer-only Death Match Mode, in which up to seven players seek to destroy one another on a single cube.
The game modes are incredibly fun, and the ability to invite six friends over to enjoy it is impressive, but what if it is just you? Will it be entertaining to play through these modes by yourself? Will you be challenged? If you are the kind of gamer that loves leaderboards, then the answer is yes. The inclusion of online leaderboards allows you to challenge the entire online community at any time. Every single game mode has its own online leaderboard and attempting to make the top 100 of any mode will add countless hours of enjoyment to an already impressive package.
Cubixx HD is a highly enjoyable game, but it isn’t without its slight disappointments. The biggest issue I had with the game was the lack of online play. Allowing seven-player co-op is great, but I rarely have seven people over to my house. The game would gain a lot from having the ability to connect with other players online. I was impressed with the leaderboards, but I would have been more impressed if I could join the players I was challenging on the leaderboards for a quick round of Death Match. My only other frustration was with the way levels and stages were set up. If a stage consists of levels 5-10 and I plow through levels 5,6 and 7 but die on level 8, I should not have to restart at level 5 again. I realize that it is built in to make the game more challenging, but after playing those levels multiple times, all it did was frustrate me, and encourage me to shut down the system and come back later. It does make you feel accomplished when you finally get it, but I would have preferred to be able to continue from where I died.
Cubixx may have started as a Mini, but its successor is a full-fledged title. Considering what you get for the price, Cubixx HD is a worthy investment that offers up tons of challenging game modes in a package that not only looks great, but plays great as well. For $9.99, it is the perfect kind of game to help you get through the next few months, and will make for a great palate cleanser before the inevitable madness hits in November.
Review copy provided by publisher.