Cubes vs. Spheres (99 cents) delivers exactly what it promises: level upon level of brutal warfare by geometric shapes. You take control of the spheres, which you flick at the deadly and angular cubes that march relentlessly forward against a stark, minimalist background. At your disposal are six deadly orbs, ready to unleash Euclidian death upon your foes. It’s a fun little time waster, and well worth the dollar on Google Play.
Playing the Game
As the literal name suggests, gameplay is very straightforward. Each level consists of a stark white room, usually with some kind of 3D set dressing. At one end of the room is a circle with a pipe to deliver your ammunition (read: spheres) and the cubes advancing from the other side. If three cubes make it to your circle, you lose the level. You win only when you’ve defeated every cube.
You launch spheres by selecting a weapon and then flicking the screen—a harder flick sends the sphere soaring, a slower one rolls the orb across the floor. A palette across the screen lets you chose which sphere to launch next. When your sphere reaches its target the cube bursts into a truly satisfying confetti with a sound halfway between a fart and a gas main explosion. Unfortunately, your selfless spheroid will also be lost in the process, but its noble sacrifice will not soon forgotten.
Choose Your Sphere
Each of your spherical weapons has a specialty, including ice, explosions, nigh-invulnerability, or homing. Blue spheres are provided in unlimited quantities, but can be upgraded to split into multiple balls of death, making it easily the most valuable weapon in the game.
By far the most useful specialty “spheres” is the decoy, which is actually shaped like a cube. Once deployed, a heart appears over it, and the enemy cubes will be compelled to roll toward it. So great is their amour that they’ll even pile upon the delectable decoy, only to be betrayed when it explodes beneath them. Such is love. Though the decoy’s explosion is useful, the biggest benefit you get is gathering the enemy cubes into one spot.
Not to be outgunned, the Cubes have their own variations as well. Watch out for break-apart giant cubes, armored black cubes, and sneaky transparent cubes that creep into your blindspots.
Locks and Controls
Much of the content in Cubes vs. Spheres is locked, though thankfully not behind a paywall. Levels unlock as you progress, meaning you’ll have to play through all the easy and medium levels before jumping into the hard ones. This certainly drives play, but it might also alienate players who are only interested in the harder levels.
When you start the game, only blue spheres are available. As you play, you can spend the points you earn to unlock other spheres, and upgrades for the blue spheres. Once you unlock a sphere, you’ll have to pay more points per sphere to place them in your arsenal.
This doesn’t really extend gameplay much, since you’ll have more than enough points to unlock and purchase each sphere well before you finish the easy levels. What’s more, I didn’t notice many instances where specific spheres would be needed to complete the level.
I also found the controls to be rather unforgiving, and it wasn’t until I was nearly done with the easy levels before I felt proficient. Trying to move the camera to check you blind spots, select your sphere, aim your shot, and fire one-handed is just about impossible. The game does include an option that moves the camera as you tilt your phone, but I found this more of a hindrance than a help. A revamped interface would go a long way toward streamlining the game.
Coming Full Circle
Cubes Vs. Spheres is a fun little game that manages to make the struggle between simple 3D shapes thrilling and immersive. I was struck by how ominous the slow, persistent advance of the cubes looked, and how startling it is when they suddenly leap toward you.
However, I’d like to see some more strategic play from the game. The sphere’s powers seem under-utilized, and the purchase system unnecessary. A different system, which still restricts your arsenal but puts greater emphasis on strategic play, would make this game excellent. The pieces are already there, it just needs some tweaking, lest the game devolve into Paper Toss.
|Genre||Action Games, Board/Puzzle|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc