Cubemen2, the sequel to last year’s tower defense/RTS mash-up from 3 Sprockets, is now available from the app store. Featuring a handful of gaming modes, a variety of unit types, and tons of player-generated maps to enjoy, Cubemen2 offers an exciting take on the tower-defense genre.
- Blocky Minecraft-inspired graphical style with lots of reskin options
- Simple tap controls for unit selection and movement; also, gesture-based viewpoint controls
- Multiple game modes with single-player and multiplayer varieties; loads of user-generated levels to play
- Nice variety of unit types with challenging AI to combat
- GameCenter integration for global leaderboards and achievements to earn
- Controls can be a little fiddly and cumbersome
- Level editor only available via iPad
Cubemen2 contains several game modes, both in single-player and multiplayer varieties. We found the basic and advanced tutorials to be helpful in orienting us to the gameplay mechanics, which adhere pretty closely to standard tower defense rules. The main difference here is that the “tower” units are actually mobile Cubemen. While you can place them anywhere and upgrade them for greater effectiveness, you can also reposition them around the map very easily, enhancing the strategic and tactical aspects of the game. As you’d expect, the goal is to defend your base from waves of Mobs (enemy units) by creating and placing units of your own on the battlefield, utilizing choke points and higher ground vantage points. Defense mode is your typical game, while Rescue sees you escorting innocents from the enemy base to yours. Skirmish is like Defense except that you are also attacking an enemy base rather than just defending your own. Capture The Flag (CTF) sees each side attempting to steal the opposition’s flags while protecting their own. Territory tasks each side with attempting to claim a greater portion of the map than his opponent, which is accomplished by moving over tiles to change them to your team color. Defense and Rescue are single-player only modes, while Skirmish, CTF, and Territory can be played as single-player or online multiplayer games.
There are ten types of Cubemen to use, though some levels restrict which are available for combat. Your basic unit is a Grill, a fast-moving, low-health grunt who packs a pistol. You also have units that carry flamethrowers, lightning rods, mortars, rocket launchers, laser guns, and sniper rifles. Specialized units include one that turns into a path-blocking wall and one that becomes a land mine, as well as a pistol-toting unit that can disarm mines and remove walls. These are all presented on the main menu screen in a scrollable section highlighting each type. Matches also include some interesting features, like random box drops that offer bonuses if collected, healing stations to top off your health, and teleporters to move units from one spot to another. The AI is actually pretty good and we found the game to be challenging.
Graphically, Cubemen2 employs a Minecraft-like aesthetic, with game maps comprised of cubes, cube-shaped units, and the like. Even the currency used in the game is cubes. You can reskin the Cubemen and level tiles in a variety of different ways to customize the look of the game. The backdrop is a stark black that helps to highlight the gaming area and contributes to the minimalist feel. Buttons adorn the left side of the screen to select units. Tap one and tap a location on the landscape to place a unit, who emerges from your base and moves to the target area. Tap a placed unit to select it, which brings up its range and a menu that allows you to upgrade or sell. You can also reposition when selected by tapping a new location to make him move. Units automatically fire at Mobs within range. You can adjust your view by swiping with a single finger to pan, swiping with two fingers to rotate, and pinching to zoom. There’s also a button that swaps between your normal view and a top-down view. The soundtrack is fairly catchy, though the loops get a bit annoying after a while.
Replay value is good, as the multiplayer option allows you to engage in matches with up to 6 players, both AI and human. Additionally, the iPad allows for a built-in level editor to be used to create and share custom maps, which are available to download and use on any device. Multiplayer is also cross-platform, so there is potentially a large user base of competitors. There are even global rankings and dozens of achievements to earn through GameCenter. A universal app for $1.99, Cubemen2 is a 4-Dimple offering.