Cubixx HD
Gameplay 9
Graphics 8
Sound 9

Cubixx HD takes the addictive formula of the old arcade hit Qix and brings it into the modern era. The 3D playing field increases the challenge, but the basics can be mastered in no time. Putting up a decent high score and completing the Challenge levels takes a bit more practice, though, not to mention taking on the online leaderboards. Even when failing repeatedly, the addictive gameplay, stylish visuals, and thumping soundtrack will keep you returning for more.

Gameplay: The game is easy to learn but challenging to master, just like a good arcade or puzzle game should be.

Graphics: The visuals are not too flashy but very nice overall.

Sound: This is definitely a game where you will want to crank the volume up loud

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Cubixx HD

Developer: Laughing Jackal LTD | Publisher: Ghostlight LTD | Release Date: 2016 | Genre: Puzzle / Arcade / Action / Indie | Website: N/A | Purchase: Steam

It is impossible to review Cubixx HD without a nod to its forefather, Qix, the Taito arcade classic from 1981. Of course, Cubixx HD is not the first title to try to recapture the magic of Qix, but it is one of the first to add a whole new dimension to the gameplay. While Qix requires players to grab as much territory as possible on a flat surface, the playing field in Cubixx HD is a six-sided cube. This provides the game with some nice visual flair and adds a bit more depth to the gameplay.

For players unfamiliar with Qix, the gameplay of Cubixx HD is basically a mixture of arcade and puzzle elements. Playing as a “Cubot,” you must navigate around the edges of a cube and then activate your laser to cut into the sides. Cut away a certain percentage of the cube, and you win the level, but there are, of course, enemies that prevent this from being too simple. While cutting into the cube, your Cubot leaves a line in its wake, which is vulnerable to enemies. If they touch any part of a line still in progress or the Cubot itself, you lose a life and get reset back to one of the edges. Your main enemies, the Cubixx, move around the faces of the cube, so as long as you stick to the edges, you are safe. As the challenge increases at later levels, new enemies start appearing, like the sparks that can actually follow you around by moving along the edges just like your Cubot. While most enemies will cause instant death when they come into contact with your Cubot or its laser line, a few make things more challenging by slowing you down. Add some environmental hazards like asteroids hitting the cube or black holes appearing, and you’ll find that Cubixx HD is quite a frantic game.

It is also definitely a game where fortune favors the brave, as making bold moves and taking big risks is the best way to get high scores. On later levels, there is rarely time to stand still and plan your next move, as you are pretty much constantly facing death from all sides. Remaining stationary while in the process of using your laser is also a bad idea, as a fuse slowly follows the line leading to your Cubot and will destroy it on contact. Like another classic, Snake, you cannot touch any part of your own laser line either while cutting. While the odds are very much against you, a couple of things can help you out. First, since the cube is a 3D object, you can create combos by continuing a line from one face of the cube to the next. Only enemies on the same cube face as your Cubot can harm you, so darting between cube sections is a vital skill to learn. Then there are the power-ups that can be collected for abilities such as a protective shield, faster speed, or even frozen enemies. Unfortunately, some power-downs can slow your Cubot down or invert your controls when accidentally collected.

Despite its relatively low price tag, there is quite a bit of content in Cubixx HD. Initially, you’ll spend most of your time with the 50-level “Arcade Mode,” where the goal is simply to complete levels while putting up the highest score you can. This mode features a checkpoint every five levels, so if you lose all your lives before reaching one, you’ll have to redo everything from the previous checkpoint onward again. “Challenges,” on the other hand, features a specific goal for each of its 50 levels. These range from completing a level in as few lines as possible or cutting out the largest areas you can to trying to complete a level with reversed controls. When you get stuck with the challenges, you can also take a shot at the Time Attack, Score Attack, or Line Attack levels leaderboards. Last is the Deathmatch mode, where you can take on your friends. Up to seven players can square off, but this mode is local only and not online. The same goes for the local multiplayer co-op in the Arcade and Attack modes.

Visually, the game looks good but not spectacular. The background of each level is filled with all kinds of abstract shapes, but your enemies are all simple geometric shapes or glowing dots. There is an advantage to this, though, as it ensures that the action is easy to follow and you can identify hazards at a glance. While chipping away at the cube, you also uncover the “heart” inside it, beating in tune with the music, which is a really cool touch. Speaking of music, Cubixx HD features a brilliant soundtrack with plenty of very catchy songs. The electronic music is a great match for the style of the game, and even the Dubstep tracks sound good. As the game was previously a PlayStation exclusive, it still plays best with a good controller, but overall, we had no problem playing with a keyboard. One minor gripe is the fact that the mouse is required for navigating between menus despite not being used while playing the actual game.

Cubixx HD might not be a new release, but everyone who missed out on its console appearance should definitely grab it on PC. The gameplay has held up well, and chasing high scores is undeniably addictive. The game is very simple to play, but making a dent in the leaderboards will take a bit of practice. Whether you have fond memories of Qix and are looking for a modern update or simply want an addictive pick-up-and-play title, don’t miss out on Cubixx HD.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows 7
  • Processor: 2.13GHz Intel Core2 Duo or equivalent
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: DirectX 9.0c compatible graphics card with 512Mb RAM and support for v3 shaders
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Storage: 80 MB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card
  • OS: Windows 7 or later
  • Processor: 3GHz Intel i3 or equivalent
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: DirectX 9.0c compatible graphics card with 1GB RAM and support for v3 shaders
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Storage: 80 MB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card

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