Published on September 5th, 2014 | by Tyler Treese1
Cubemen 2 Review
Real-time strategy games have always worked best on PCs. The reason being is that there just hasn’t been a good way to replicate the precise control offered by a mouse and keyboard with a standard gaming controller. Thankfully for RTS fans the Wii U does not have a standard controller. When Nintendo announced the Wii U GamePad many were excited about the new gameplay it could foster and how it could enhance genres that have traditionally struggled on consoles. Look no further than to Cubemen 2, a Tower Defense/Real-time strategy hybrid originally developed by 3 Sprockets that has been brought to the Wii U by Nnooo, to see what all the Wii U GamePad can do for the RTS genre on home consoles.
The main gameplay in Cubemen 2 revolves around protecting your base all while trying to destroy enemy bases, purchase Units and destroying enemy Units and Mobs. That may sound complex at first but thankfully there are two excellent tutorials (one for basic rules and the other for advanced tactics) to guide you through the game. Mobs are defenseless smaller cubemen that are released at set intervals during the match who try to storm the rival bases to cause damage. Trying to stop the Mob are the Units which are all soldiers that each have a different weapon (Sniper Rifle, Pistol, etc.) and they each cost a different amount of cubes to purchase. You gain cubes by destroying enemy Units and Mobs. I would suggest that you try not to think about the fact that you are creating new Units by compiling the scraps of the dead because it gets dark pretty quickly.
The main strategy involves the placement of your Units and using the right Units for the situation. Knowing when to be offensive and how to defend your base properly will be the difference between winning and losing. The game is controlled entirely on the Wii U GamePad as you use the stylus to move Units to different locations, select upgrades and quickly survey the map. In fact its a game I would recommend you play without having your TV on since it doesn’t benefit from it. The only control problems I had while playing is that I would sometimes select the wrong square when trying to select a Unit but thankfully you can easily change the camera with the directional pad and analog sticks.
Cubemen 2 has plenty of content to offer that puts these mechanics to use and features not one but two campaigns. The first of which is a beginner campaign which complements the tutorial by showing new players the ropes and the second is an advanced campaign which will give most players a stern challenge. Other than the two campaigns the game features 20 levels created by 3 Sprockets for players to play a variety of modes on. These modes include single player only offerings such as Defense (in which you protect your base against waves of enemies) and Rescue (where you need to protect citizens) while also featuring five competitive modes that can be played online against humans and offline against bots.
Playing against others is where the game really shines. Online play goes up to six players and there are classic multiplayer modes such as Capture The Flag, Skirmish (a deathmatch equivalent), Territory (in which you paint the map by walking over squares), King of the Hill and Defector (where you get only one of every Unit type and Units defect to the other team when killed) for you to play on. I found all of the competitive modes to be a lot of fun online and can’t wait to play more of it.
At first Cubemen 2 seems like a very simple game graphically. After all, the titular Cubemen themselves are just simple looking soldiers made out of cubes. Tucked within the options however lies over 50 different themes for both levels and characters. Want to make your Cubemen look like Braveheart or Ninjas? You can do that. Would you rather the levels look like Ancient Egypt or even Minecraft? All of these options are there and plenty of other neat ones which give levels a lot of variety in their looks. A strong art style can go a long way and what Cubemen 2 may lack in complex visuals it more than makes up for them with a great look.
Levan Iordishvili has created a wonderful soundtrack for Cubemen 2. All of the tracks have a great atmosphere to them and fit in with the simulated war motif of the game. The sound effects are all good at expressing what is going on although it would have been nice to have distinctly different sounds for when enemies take damage rather than your units. Cubemen 2 has a lot going on at any given time, especially when playing with 5 other people, so it is a bit too easy to lose yourself in the action.
Cubemen 2 is a great example of what the Wii U can offer console gamers that other systems cannot. Its a game that takes advantage of the Wii U Gamepad and manages to have a complex game control simply. The game is packed with content featuring an in-depth level creator, great online play and addictive tower defense gameplay. It is one of the best surprises the Wii U eShop has had to offer in quite some time.
Review Copy provided by Nnooo
Summary: Cubemen 2 is a great mash-up of Tower Defense and Real-time Strategy that takes advantage of the Wii U GamePad and should be played by anyone looking for multiplayer fun.