Review: Cubemen 2 – Extensive Rebuild, Multiplayer and UGC Search Extends Indie Tower Defense

cubemen 2 - screenshot
Review: Cubemen 2 – Extensive Rebuild, Multiplayer and UGC Search Extends Indie Tower Defense

Platforms: Windows PC, Mac OS X, iOS

Game Name: Cubemen 2

Developer: Three Sprockets Pty Ltd.

Genre: Tower Defense, Real-time Strategy

Release Date: April 8th, 2013

Cubemen 2 – Developer Summary

Cubemen 2 is a fast paced, action packed, original 3D Strategy game where you use your little Cubemen units to defend and attack enemies in a range of awesome game modes including CTF, Skirmish, Territory and more.

What We Think:

We have covered a surprisingly large collection of tower defense games here at IGR and it follows that we might be a bit jaded about the genre which tends to repeat itself, but Cubemen manages to elevate and renew the excitement by mashing up realtime strategy, solo, multiplayer co-op and versus modes, supporting shareable level creation and doing it in an elegant and uncluttered package that looks as much like an art installation as it does a frantic combat title.

cubemen 2 - level editor screen
Cubemen 2 screenshot – level editor screen

Don’t Call It A Minecraft

Let’s get one thing out of the way – from the screenshots and a cursory glance at the trailers one might be forgiven for assuming this is another Minecraft mod, but once inside the game, it quickly reveals that it has very little to do with voxels and derivations, and is in fact, something wholly unique, more akin to Multiwinia in execution.

I loved the first Cubemen with its diminutive soldiers diligently marching along a variety of carefully designed pathways, launching pixelated sprays of ammo at one another in an attempt to overthrow my home base. Rather than update the graphical treatment with the sequel for which they otherwise did a complete overhaul, developers Three Sprockets Pty, add some extra customization and skinning features, several new game modes (Capture the Flag, Rescue, Territory) whilst keeping the Lego-like avatars that are the source of the game’s title intact.

cubemen 2 - multiplayer screenshot
Cubemen 2 screenshot – multiplayer mode gets le frantic

Field of Dreams

The sequel’s extensive framework re-design was primarily to allow extensibility, multiplayer modes, improved graphic performance and so on, however the gameplay is at the forefront of Cubemen, and the design is clearly conceived to keep out of the way of that. It is a testament to the gameplay focus that the mechanics are not obscured or gussied up with elaborate set pieces.

That said, the sequel offers some intriguing skins for your battlefield – everything from feudal fantasy environments to Mexican wrestling, but again, never in a manner that alters the core game mechanics.

Furthermore, and perhaps more noteworthy – the levels can be completely crafted by the players and an active, searchable level sharing system is available in-game wherein one can search by author name, level name, popularity and so on.

cubemen 2 - level select screen
Cubemen 2 features a fully searchable user-created level database ready to be rocked

Thou Shalt Do My Bidding

The Cubemen are objects that carry out intrinsic behaviors and can be deployed and subsequently updated as accrued resources (cubes form the currency) allow. They include a wide variety of unit types including snipers, mine-layers, wall-builders, standard and heavy gunners (with corresponding fire-rates and cost), flamethrowers, lightning-chainers, freezers for slowing opponents and precision laser riflemen.

Where Cubemen begins to set itself apart from other Tower Defense titles is that any unit can be relocated at any time, and most often the units are given marching orders to move to new strategic positions as the battlefield shifts. Furthermore, both sides are attacking and defending simultaneously, which is why, though it has a tower-defense essence, it is as much an RTS.

During combat, special support crates will drop down that you must send a unit to retrieve. These crates may upgrade all units instantaneously, nerf the opponent, or offer up a stack of cubes you can use to spend as you see fit.

cubemen 2 - screenshot
Cubemen 2 screenshot – skirmish mode

What the devs did well was to listen to their growing community and follow their lead. They have addressed and attempted to implement many suggestions, and as the result, developed a truly engaging and dare we say unique gaming experience that we find ourselves returning to frequently.

The only real caveat, and the huge risk undertaken by the devs is that they bet the house on players coming to the game, with multiplayer and heavy focus on custom UGC. Unfortunately the players have not arrived at the level one would hope, but this can change.

We thus aspire to draw attention to the game, because with the audience, the experience will be fantastic. For fans of Red vs. Blue, tower defense or solid, brass-tacks RTS, Cubemen 2 is a no-brainer.

Visit the Official Site for Cubemen 2

Get Cubemen 2 on Steam

[xrr rating=”4/5″]