Day 342: Kinetic Kube S

Posted: 2011/10/19 in Indie Games

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game (XBLIG) every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and are not well represented in the top 50 lists on the Xbox Dashboard. Today is day #342, and today’s game is “Kinetic Kube S”.

What the heck did I just play? Kinetic Kube was first suggested to me during an interview with developer “Angry Newton” (who did the excellent “Mr. Gravity”). I didn’t really know much about it, other than (at the time) it was still in peer review playtest amongst other indie developers and that they thought it was a solid title. Boy were they right, the game takes place at a blistering pace, has more variety than I expected, and is unlike anything I’ve ever played before.

First, from the developer (Suitz Ethics):

“Kinetic Kube S is an electric blend of intense action and split second decisions served with a side of “zone to this” music and “cannot take your eyes away” graphics!”

This is hardly the first game that can be described as benefiting from multiplayer, and while that is true of Kinetic Kube S it also (thankfully) is a pretty fantastic game when played solo. The game is, get this, simultaneously a platformer and a horizontally scrolling shoot-’em-up. You control your character (the titular “Kube”) and a ship simultaneously with your controller, jumping and dodging with the Kube and shooting down threats with your ship. Have mad platforming skills but not much of a shmup player, then no problem because the game gives you the option of letting the AI control the ship for you. This is the heart of “Kinetic” mode, but other features include coloured lasers that shoot from the top of the screen and either heal you, damage you, or damage your enemies.

For many games that would be the end, but Kinetic Kube S introduces many quite different modes that significantly change the gameplay. “Bomb” mode has you watching for those colour-coded game elements again, this time trying to grab green bombs (which replenish you) and avoiding red bombs (which hurt you), with features such as the ever-popular “bullet time” for the Max Payne fan in all of us. “Survival mode” has you piloting flying skiffs through all sorts of mayhem.

Many games boast a wide variety of modes, but they aren’t always that much different from each other. Kinetic Kube’s modes are each quite different, so the amount of variety on display is impressive, and I like that the developer focused on quality over quantity. This game is insanely good for 80 Microsoft Points, and I can’t recommend it more highly.

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