Cubixx HD

From looking at screenshots of Cubixx HD, I had no idea what sort of game it was. Shooter? Puzzler? It wasn’t clear. As soon, as I started to play it, though, I recognised the core of the gameplay. I had a game many years ago that followed the same principle, being that you start with a square, and trapped inside the square is an enemy creature which bounces around. Your player can only move on the line surrounding the square, until you make a “cut” into the square. If your player, or the line you are cutting into the square comes into contact with the enemy, bang, you’ve lost a life. Successfully make your cut back to the edge, though, and you’re safe, and you’ve taken a portion of the square. The objective on each level is to take a certain percentage of the overall square. The original was called Qix, and the year was 1981.

What Laughing Jackal have done with that thirty year old core gameplay is basically what Hollywood have done to lots of old films. Take the basic core, add a banging soundtrack, awesome HD visuals and… add in 3D. Unlike most of Hollywood’s recent output, though, the addition of 3D to Cubixx genuinely adds something. You see, instead of trying to take over a percentage of a boring old square, you’re now trying to take over the majority of all six sides of a revolvable cube.

Admittedly, on the first few levels, it doesn’t make a lot of difference, but once you get to the later levels it gets very hectic. Pumping bass heavy soundtrack and impressive visuals aside, this is classic old school gaming, where points and leaderboards are king. And like almost all older games, it gets difficult fast. Once you are dealing with multiple creatures inside each face of the cube, plus creatures following you around the edges, and a burning style fuse following you as you make a cut… you need eyes in the back of your head. Throw in keeping an eye out for the (both positive and negative) power ups found within the cube, and the fact you only hit a checkpoint every five cubes, and you can see why it keeps you on your toes.

An unexpected bonus, not usually found in this type of game, is multiplayer—you can play split-screen in various co-operative or deathmatch modes. Deathmatch mode plays out with both you and the other player hacking away at the cube, aiming to take a section of it out that contains the other player in order to make a “kill”. It works surprisingly well. Co-op plays in much the same way as the single player arcade mode, but with both players sharing a pool of lives. I’m sorry, did I say “both” players? I meant to say “all seven of them”, as crazily, Cubixx HD supports up to seven players in both co-op and deathmatch split-screen modes. I’d love to say I tried it out with seven players, but the truth is I don’t have either enough Dualshock controllers or friends to have made it happen.







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