Day 617: We Are Cubes

Posted: 2012/07/18 in Indie Games

It took me a bit to put my finger on what this game reminded me of. Was it the Death Star trench run? Maybe. Geometry Wars? A bit, I guess. The Death Star trench run as reimagined by the late, lamented developers of Geometry Wars? That’s closer to the mark. Then it came to me: “We Are Cubes” reminds me of Zaxxon, or what it might have become if it had continued to evolve over the decades since its release, with presentation inspired by what a next-gen Vectrex game console might have produced. And before I torture the comparison any further, let’s look at the actual game.

“We Are Cubes”‘s presentation is undeniably fantastic, with clean and attractive visuals, paired with camera angles that work surprisingly well and music that complements everything else. Enemies of varying colour come at you and, you’ll quickly learn that, while some can be killed with a single shot, many will break apart into smaller enemies when hit. There’s a strategy to this, as you learn which colours take how much punishment and break apart into how great a threat. Rather than shooting everything in your path, it’s better to choose a path through the enemies, with colour as your guide.

As you might expect, power-ups are on offer here. These dispense the ability to freeze enemies, improve your mobility, upgrade (or otherwise modify) your weapons, and more. The variety is strong, and they’re given out just sparsely enough to appreciate them, but not so little as to make the game too hard to complete.

Back to not shooting everything in your path, though. Normally in a shooter you fire indiscriminately, but that’s not recommended here. Miss a shot and your multiplier bonus resets, but it gets worse: every miss has to travel the entire length of the screen before you can fire that shot off again. Now *that’s* an incentive to pick your targets carefully, and to adhere to the sniper’s credo of “one bullet, one kill” (at least, that’s the credo of sniper’s in the movies).

The final thing that caught my attention was that enemies, if you let them, will bump into each other and combine into larger, more powerful, and less predictable enemies. This is your most serious threat in many ways, and you must be at pains to make sure it does not happen. This forces you to execute your tactics perfectly, and really elevates this game into a stellar, must-buy release that seems to be right up the alley of Mass Deduction readers. Only 80 Microsoft Points for the great looking, great playing indie game masterpiece.

There is local multiplayer here, and online scoreboards to compete for high places on too.

Here’s what the developer (1BK) has to say about the game:

“Spheres are the enemy! Fire bullets, collect upgrades and use powerups to destroy them! Includes 2 addictive game modes, local multiplayer, online high scores, awardments and unlockable content!”

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