Cubixx was, and still is, one of the best PlayStation Minis titles available on the service, its Qix inspired gameplay working nicely with the cube-based playing field. The simple sole goal, to cut away as much of the cube as required for each level, meant that the core gameplay could shine through and although repetition kicked in the idea was solid – it just always felt as if the game needed a little extra room to breathe.
Without the contraints governed by the Minis platform, Cubixx HD, a PlayStation 3 title due out soon, can offer up much better graphics, unlimited space for music and – best of all – multiplayer. It’s still essentially the same game, but now it feels more comprehensive, more substantial, and it’s all the better for it.
On each level the game presents a solid cube, the player spark and a number of enemies. The Cubixx, as they’re known, start off basic and dumb, floating around aimlessly as you cut away at the surfaces (you’re stuck to vertices unless you hold down X to start cutting away) but it’s not long before smarter bad guys are introduced adding some strategy and danger.
As you zoom around each side you leave a trace behind, and if a Cubixx hits the trace you’ll lose a life – the exception is if you’re already on another side of the cube and still cutting away, an action that also adds to your multiplier (which can reach the obvious six times) but, as you’d expect, is riskier the longer you keep up the chain. It’s the key to bigger scores, though, and with online leaderboards this is going to be crucial.
The main mode is the Arcade mode, which consists of fifty levels over ten stages – there’s still the niggle that losing all your lives mean you have to restart from the beginning of the stage, not level, but it does mean that getting to the end won’t be a walk in the park.
Other modes include Time Attack, Score Attack and Line Attack, and Cubixx HD also comes with a series of Challenges and a multiplayer deathmatch mode – all of these are locked until you reach a certain stage in Arcade mode, which also now features a proper tutorial, and, cleverly, can be played split-screen co-op with a friend.
In addition, Cubixx HD features a set of ‘feats’ that reward skillful play (such as quickly completing a level, or cutting away more than 50% of a face in one shot) and collectables including power-ups (faster speed, the ability to freeze enemies), negative effects (dangerous asteroid attacks, reversed controls) and simple score boosters. You need to surround and cut-away these tokens, but they’re generally worth it.
It’s all rather good. The visuals are much improved (nice and sharp, and at sixty frames per second) and the sound, obviously, is far better through a surround sound system rather than the PSP’s tiny speakers. And, of course, there’s now a full collection of Trophies – we won’t spoil them here but let’s just say the first one is a bit of a tease.
We’ll have the full review as soon as possible.