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I own a heck of a lot of games, and as a result I tend to play only a very short amount of any random one before the next one comes along. While I would like to get over this and finish more of the games I own, in the meantime I have started Snap Judgement to make use of the impressions I get from the start of a game. I do believe that the start of a game is one of it’s most important parts, and if it doesn’t catch you, then even if the end of it is awesome, you’re not likely to continue on. Hopefully my comments and opinions will help someone on the fence about trying a game!

Amount Played for Review: ~25 minutes
Platform: PC (Steam)

You know, it’s not that often that I buy something and later think it was kind of a bad choice. Maybe I just don’t quite get it, but Cubemen is one of these rare occurrences.

Cubemen is another Tower Defence game, except this time the gimmick is that your towers are treated as RTS soldiers. This isn’t as great of an idea as you would think it is, though, which I’ll go into detail later. When you start, there’s very little to the game. You can choose to either play a Defense game which is like your typical TD, or a Skirmish game which is not unlike the kind of competitive TD that is like Monday Night Combat. In Skirmish, you set up your units to shoot enemy towers and enemy walkers, to protect your own walkers as they shamble to the enemy’s base and take their HP away. This mode is actually the only one I played that felt like it played right.

Now, as for the gameplay. Cubemen’s gameplay is… flawed. Conceptually, having an RTS TD probably sounds pretty cool. In reality, though, it suffers from a number of downsides and design problems. The biggest downside is that it means that your towers need to actually walk to where you want them to be, under fire the whole time. Sure, they can PROBABLY shoot back as well, but in my experience they… tended to either not, or shot pretty ineffectively.

There’s a pretty barebones tutorial when the game detects that it’s your first time playing. It’s not even tied to a specific map or anything; pick any map from “easy” to “insane” and start playing, and the game will start giving some tutorial boxes to make sure you know what’s up. It doesn’t do a good job overall, though. Or, I’ll just say, the fact that I could never even get halfway through the first “easy” level left me thinking that there was something I didn’t understand.

As well, unlike most TD games, there’s no such thing as a “pause” between waves in Cubemen. They just keep coming one after another as the wave counter ticks ever higher towards your ultimate failure.

 

Maybe there’s something about the way the game plays that I didn’t understand that made it unnecessarily hard? but it also didn’t go out of it’s way to try and make itself that accessible.

2 Comments

  1. Thanks for the honest review. I have to say though, you are definitely in the minority if you think that the Mix of moving units and TD is a bad design decision.

    Cubemen turns what TD usually is (place & upgrade until you max out everything, then sit and watch) into a strategy and timing game where you have to constantly be working on your offensive and defensive strategy to ensure victory.

    I agree Cubemen is not a beginners game and we have had about a 50/50 mix of players that think its hard compared to players that think its perfect or on the easy side. That is why we have introduced such a vast and varied array of level designs.

    We have also added a new Beginner level (Arrow) to the latest version that slows down the first game most users play allowing them to experiment more with the different unity types and win their first game with more ease.

  2. Well, I’ll admit that I’m surprised that a dev even found this, let alone wished to comment. I did play the game more after I did this review, and felt that I got a better grasp of it since then.

    However, as clarification, what I meant by design problems is that the AI handling player tower fire seemed quite spotty. It wasn’t that I thought that the decision to mix the genres was poor, but instead that the implementation was rough. I often had situations where my Cubemen would stare at an oncoming or crossways moving enemy, apparently confused as it’s targeting routines tried to process it. This resulted in the situations where my Cubemen would be easily overwhelmed and picked off because they would aim and never fire (it was worse when they were moving, but happened often enough if they were standing still). Or some other situations where my flamethrower man would just let an enemy Cubeman literally walk up to him and through before he even bothered to begin burning.

    To put it simply, I just felt that my Cubemen’s responses were unreliable, which makes them hard to make full use of. I could never really tell if I failed a level because my tactics were poor, or if it was because my Cubemen simply weren’t working. I don’t know if this has already been noted, but I hope it’s something you take into consideration. But thank you for your reply, and good luck with the game!


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