(XBLA) Death by Cube
Just when you thought cubes were safe.
Posted 3 years ago By LuxDraconis - William Bobola
I don’t think I’ve ever played a game where the title was a foregone conclusion. Not that that’s a bad thing. It’s nice that Square Enix and Premium Agency warn you right up front and are honest about it. Death by Cube is the name and Death by Cube is exactly how your little robot will get crushed by cubes, repeatedly! The game, at the same time, is strangely addictive, almost along the same lines as Geometry Wars.
The game play sounds simple; “ shoot all the blocks and don’t die”. But as simple as that sounds, there is a little more to it, well, a lot more to it. Your character is a robot that has had its data wiped (bummer), so, as you defeat blocks and other robots you can purchase data and upgrades for your robot. You also save your winnings in battle to unlock your next stage, but the good news is that you can play your best battle over and over, collecting money as you do.
Your robot shoots its weapons with the right directional thumb stick while you move around with your left thumb stick. Moving is key to your survival; stay in one spot for more than a second and your poor little guy is going to get crushed by swarming blocks. Your other tools are there to help you keep away from the blood bursting blocks. On a quick side note, you have not only three sizes of enemy blocks, but three sizes of enemy robots that I like to call ’my evil triplets’ who shoot at you.
One of your other tools is a sprint button that provides an invincible warp in short bursts. The sprint also stuns the blocks for a short time if you warp nearby them. The other tool at your disposal is a shield button. This is your life saver when robots rain their deadly fire and you get cornered. It does two things at the same time; one, stop the bullets from hitting you and two, the shields store and redirect the enemy fire back at them. Do it quick or the shield will overload and it’ll get real messy, real fast.
There are ten different robot types to purchase that will help you win different matches. Some have attack upgrades, while others have defensive or base protection upgrades. The game does have a multiplayer mode, one where the community is nonexistent, and I think I know why. If you’re able to get in a match (it took me 15 minutes and 10 tries), the wins and losses seem to be random at best. I played two modes, Death match and Base Battle, which both left me wondering what the point was. They also have a third mode called High Score Scramble which sounds more like something I ordered at Tim Horton’s for breakfast. Needless to say I didn’t want wait to be disappointed again, so I didn’t even bother playing it.
Graphics and Sound
When I first started a match in the single player campaign, the graphic style reminded me of the dungeons in the original Zelda; very flat and not a lot to it. For a game set in a “space” or “digital” world, it felt very 2D and plain and the only hint of depth was in the Base Battle mode. The other “selling point" of the game is the blood splashes but to me it looks like left over mortal kombat blood spray. Plus, I had no idea that cubes and robots bleed. The sound in the game is lost and after five minutes of hearing the “background” music it will be too buried for you to even notice. When I first heard the back ground music, I knew I had heard it before; it was a Rihanna track called Disturbia. Not a bad track, but not one I wanted to hear over and over again. Luckily, you can mute it and not miss anything.
If you have an extra 800 MS points to spend and are a hardcore fan of Shooter/Strategy games, Death by Cube is an addictive game so long as the sound is muted. Casual gamers will find it frustrating beyond the first three missions.
The folks at Premium Agency were clearly inspired by Geometry Wars, and just added some blood and cubes. But, in the end there is a dead online multiplayer community, with little hope of attracting players from the single player campaign. Anybody looking for a less frustrating Shooter/Strategy should take a pass on this one. I would only recommend this to the hardcore crowd.
+ Blood and robots
+ Fast paced action
- The music
- Hard to master
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Release Date : 2010/01/20
System : Xbox 360
Publisher : Square Enix
Developer : Premium Agency
Category : Shoot’Em’Up
ESRB : T
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