Review: Cubixx HD (PSN)

Cubixx HD is one of the most relentlessly punishing games I’ve played in a long time, even right at the beginning it can feel difficult but because the games oozes with one more go syndrome before you know it you’ll find that you just keep going (and going and going). At times I felt like I needed to vent my frustrations but the pretty visuals and neat soundtrack soothed me down, (for a while at least!), but at it’s heart as like with Fruit Ninja Kinect (yes I am comparing the two!) you have a game that is simplistic yet challenging, a game that ultimately lacks depth but still manages to lure you in. Cubixx HD is simply put one of the best arcade/puzzlers I’ve played in a good long while!

 

Picture it if you will, it’s 1981 and Taito have just released the innovative and brand spanking new Qix. In it the screen consisted of a rectangle, your goal was to cut away as much as the rectangle as possible without your lines being touched by a Stix line, as the difficulty progressed more enemies would appear such as Sparkx that would travel all of the completed lines and a fuse that would appear if you stopped drawing your Qix line. Now it’s back to good ol’ 2011 (a year before the Mayan’s get us) and Laughing Jackal present us with their follow up to cult Playstation Mini title Cubixx with Cubixx HD. Cubixx HD is almost certainly a throwback to Qix even the enemies share the same names (such as the enemy entitled ‘fuse’) but this games shakes up the original ingredients. Aside from the HD visual upgrade, the most obvious difference is that instead of a rectangle you have to watch six sides of a cube that ultimately make this much more challenging than Qix. There are also a larger variety of enemies and game modes which helps to keep the game feeling varied and fresh. The point I’m making here is that Cubixx HD is Qix with a lot of home improvements and whilst you have the joys of feeling the throwbacks to the eighties you also have the thrill of modern gaming.

 

 

In total the game contains 50 levels, checkpoints are every 5 levels which believe me is incredibly frustrating. The game begins by easing you in but it’s not long before all manner of enemies and collectables are thrown at you and with each fifth level you reach the difficulty increases and because the game doesn’t save until every 5 levels you can easily find yourself failing at the fifth level and having to begin back at the first of your current set of levels. Cubixx HD certainly has a degree of strategy, the only surefire way to make sure you maximise your chances of survival is to collect pick-ups, which you do so by cutting away the area they reside on. The most useful pick-up I found were the health pick-ups which gave you more lifes and therefore, more mistakes. Other pick-ups provide speed boosts or a bonus points whilst some work against you and can reverse your controls, slow you down or even instantly kill you. On an off topic and note this is Laughing Jackal’s first full release (non-Mini release) which means you have the satisfaction of earning trophies as you make way through the game!

 

The bad guys get increasingly tricky as you progress too. Initially, you simply have to avoid the Cubixx that patrol each play area, which bounce off the walls as they attempt to touch your laser trail thus loosing you a life. Later levels see the introduction of Line Chasers, which closely follow your path meaning you can’t stay still for too long. Other enemies of note include Homers – black clouds that migrate towards you, slow you down and make you easier to catch, Black Holes that affect your speed and movement, and Asteroids that can destroy you with their blast. As the game continues each enemy will also continue in their severity and in their frequency.

 

Other games mode on Cubixx HD become available as you progress through arcade mode. The modes include time-trial (where you must score as high as possible in the allotted time), score-attack (where you must earn the highest score with only one life), line-attack mode (in this you must get the highest score you can with only one line). Beyond this the modes look a little more interesting. Firstly is the challenge mode where you are given different objectives to complete, like with the main arcade mode it begins fairly easy but proceeds to get incredibly challenging as you progress. Cubixx HD also features local multi-player. Sadly the only online multi-players comes in terms of the leader boards where you can compare your scores against that of your friends and the world.  The local-multiplayer, however, is hectic and well worth a look at, the mode is called death match which sees each player having to cut the cube every 15 seconds or get killed. It’s a welcome addition and with the ability to have 7 players at once it can get pretty hectic.

 

The high definition graphics coupled with the electronic soundtrack coupled with the Cubixx HD’s ability to lure you in for just one more go makes this a game worth having in your collection. Its arcade action cut with challenging gameplay and retro heart makes for a winning combination and one that you owe it to yourself to own even if it is just for a chance to escape the over-saturated FPS market.

 

Review

ProsCons
Easy to pick up and play, Great HD and colourful presentation, Challenging and addictive gameplayNo online multi-player, can become incredibly tough
Rating
84%

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