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Game Review

Cubit The Hardcore Platformer Robot Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Ron DelVillano

What’s in a name?

We're often told that it’s not safe to judge a book by its cover. The adventures and perils that lie within those pages can often be very different than what is offered up by the image imprinted on a book's front, but we all do it anyway. Marketers and publishers know that we're drawn to book covers; it's the first thing that we see, and it's exactly what either holds our attention or immediately makes us pass right by. It's not safe to judge a book by its cover and it's not safe to judge a video game by its title, except when that title is particularly honest.

Cubit the Hardcore Platformer Robot is blatantly frank in its title, offering exactly what the name suggests. Taking on the role of Cubit, an adorable little robot with masochistic tendencies, your goal is to hop your way through six increasingly difficult stages. You are given an unlimited number of lives with a counter keeping track of your deaths on the bottom screen. Rather than following a more traditional linear path, the stages instead branch off from one another, not unlike the map in Find Mii II / StreetPass Quest II. Seeing all that the game has to offer requires multiple plays through, but once you’ve got a handle on the unchanging design of each stage, it's a quick enough experience that replaying doesn’t feel tedious.

This game revels in its simplicity; from the gameplay to the graphical style, it projects a crisp air of minimalism. Not unlike BIT.TRIP RUNNER's Commander Video, Cubit automatically darts forward, running on a collision course with every spiny enemy or bottomless pit that lies ahead. There's no way to stop and no way to attack, ensuring that all of your efforts are put into single-button jumps and praying to the high-heavens that you've timed your movements correctly. All of the directions on the D-Pad and the A, B, X, and Y buttons are mapped to the jump command, solidifying the fact that if jumping doesn't work, then all you can do is try jumping again.

Comprised of simple techno beats that expand and grow more intense as you progress, the soundtrack provides a catchy cacophony that is sure to get stuck in your head. While it’s not entirely accurate to call this a rhythm game, it is true that, again like any BIT.TRIP title, your movements can be timed with the music. Jumping on – and sometimes off – beat with the soundtrack tends to end with the best results, and timing double jumps to work effectively is also dependent on a certain rhythm, but Cubit is just as playable with the volume turned down completely. If you’re a fan of difficult platformers but you’re unable to keep even the simplest beats, worry not, as you’ll still be able to play through the six stages with patience and persistence.

Though Cubit may only contain six unique stages, it does offer up a host of extra features that do well to extend the game’s life. After completing the game once, you will then unlock Hardcore mode. The stages in this mode remain exactly the same, but you are challenged with completing all of them using only three lives. Beyond Hardcore mode there is also an achievement system featuring 24 Challenges to complete and five additional unlockable characters beyond your standard adorable robot.

The simple character and environmental designs work well for this title, but the presentation is not without its hiccups. Certain areas tend to lag a little bit, and turning on the console's 3D effect definitely drops the frame rate and hinders the game's otherwise smooth animation, but none of this is even remotely game breaking. Some players scrutinizing this one under their proverbial microscope will be turned off by the finicky display, but most will be too focused on landing their jumps and not pitching their 3DS at the wall to even notice.

Conclusion

Cubit the Hardcore Platformer Robot is an honestly titled game that delivers a charming and fun, albeit frustratingly difficult, experience. The campaign may be short but this is the type of game that focuses more on high scores, and the inclusion of unlockables and an achievement system help to extend the playtime quite a bit. If you’re a fan of challenging platformers in the same vein as the BIT.TRIP RUNNER games, then this is one that you should consider giving a download. If, however, you have a tendency to get frustrated and throw your 3DS when the going gets tough, you might instead want to consider saving your console from certain doom.

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User Comments (30)

Windy

#2

Windy said:

I had a real hard time playing Bit Trip Runner so I guess this will be a no buy for me. I was considering it. Just the mention of Bit Trip Runner had me quaking in my boots LOL

unrandomsam

#3

unrandomsam said:

@MAB Plenty of things that already are better than Cloudberry Kingdom. (Spelunky / Super Meatboy / Rogue Legacy / Electronic Super Joy).

gage_wolf

#4

gage_wolf said:

Man... that art direction leaves a lot to be desired. It looks like they threw together the graphics for this in like 15 minutes. I'm grateful we live in a time when Independent developers can release games on major consoles, but the artistry or style in a lot of these smaller titles is really just bad and /or forgettable. Is anyone going to remember Cubit in say oh... 2 years? Nope.

sinalefa

#5

sinalefa said:

I may get this as I liked both Runner games. Hopefully the game does not put the Hard in Hardcore, as the review makes it sound a bit shallow. For me a "hardcore" game should not only be punishingly hard, but also have engaging and deep mechanics.

The price is good, so I will try it and then give my impressions.

theoldman

#7

theoldman said:

I'm not one to ever argue a score on this site, but I picked up this game the other morning and I immediately wanted my $3 back. The controls are so unresponsive it let to half my death tally, And on top of it, the frame rate is ATROCIOUS. When you have a game the boasts a one button control and a constantly scrolling screen, these are two major components that just have to be spot on. Given all that, I still managed to beat most of it, just in the hopes it would improve. Sadly it never did.

Prof_Clayton

#9

Prof_Clayton said:

Just because you're a small company is no excuse to release a game with uninspired and bland art direction, among unresponsive controls. With only 6 levels it sounds like this was a rushed game, because with so few levels more time could have been put into the game design.

sinalefa

#11

sinalefa said:

@theoldman

I totally agree with you. I don't feel that bad for being only $3, but I seldom feel buyer's remorse or regret supporting an indie dev but this one is such a case.

The art style does not bother me although it could be better, but you don't make white platforms and put white backgrounds that make it hard to see the platforms. You also do not put leaps of faith in a game where a single mistake takes you back to the start of the stage.

As I suspected, it took the "core" out of "hardcore", just focusing on a punishing and nearly unfair game. Some jumps have to be pixel perfect, something that is really hard to do when the double jump is unresponsive, and since it has so few stages, there is not a learning curve as with the Runner games.

So to have a number at the end, it would be a 5, by using NL's policy.

Undead_terror

#13

Undead_terror said:

I got a review copy and couldn't stand the game, it's sad because coder childs other games are enjoyable, but not this one.

MeWario

#14

MeWario said:

@Klimbatize Now that is a masterpiece! I played it non stop for weeks until I finally beat it without dying. Still like to go back and play it often.

BinaryFragger

#16

BinaryFragger said:

@sinalefa

Thanks for saving me $3. I was thinking of getting the game but I absolutely can't stand bad controls. Having to restart a level because the game didn't register your button press ruins a game for me.
I love challenging games but I want a fair challenge. The two BitTrip Runner games, for instances, are difficult but have responsive controls. When you die, it's 100% your fault. I'll pass on this one.

sinalefa

#17

sinalefa said:

@BinaryFragger

You are welcome. The Runner games have better controls, better music, a more interesting art style, hidden levels, etc. I also love how you can sometimes tackle obstacles in several ways, as opposed to only jumping, which barely allows for any variety or strategy.

CoderChild

#18

CoderChild said:

Hi all!
Since the release of the game, I've been worried about what the players say about the controls of the game. And do you know what? All of you are wrong :P !!

Seriously, I'm pretty sure the controls are working properly. The problem I see, is that people don't get how they work, and this is the real flaw, it's a design fault.

Just to simplify things: double jump should be performed one step at a time, i.e., jump first, wait a little, then do the second jump. I did this way to help players with nervous fingers not perform double jump accidentally. It's a shame since something done to help players ends being seen as a another problem :

In any case you should know, once the controls are understood, the game is 100% winnable. At this moment, there are many players who beated the game and showed me their results :)

theoldman

#19

theoldman said:

@CoderChild

I can understand and respect that decision for more novice gamers, however the game is advertised for "hardcore" players. Games of this nature rely on split second timing and jumping, in order to truly master. (Its kind of the nature of the beast). While playing the game I tried to switch it up by using the A button for my first jump, then switching to B for the double (since all the buttons act the same) which puts that pause between hits, but still it failed on numerous occasions. You are right though, if you stick with it, it can be beat, which I did eventually do. Unfortunately, the jumping issue was to problematic for me to overlook and enjoy it.

It's not very often the fans get to interact with people behind the games directly, so I hope if anything the feedback, good or bad, helps for future projects!

JustinH

#20

JustinH said:

@MAB How does that game remain so underrated? I recommend it to everyone and pretty much no one has heard of it.

MAB

#21

MAB said:

@JustinH Because I have found that the majority of gamers on our earth have terrible taste in games... Even the staff and users on NL are rather questionable to say the least ;)

CoderChild

#22

CoderChild said:

For those who purchased the game, I ve published the mechanics of the double jump into my twitter account https://twitter.com/coderchild/status/419941640472522753 I hope this will improve your game experience.

@theoldman I really love interacting with the players, really, and all the comments from both, fans and rewievers, are always welcomed, better if they are properly exposed and justified.

In fact you deserve all my attention since without you I couldn't make games : )

MAB

#23

MAB said:

@CoderChild You will find that alot of the users on this site are terrible at playing games. I mean just look at all the hate that the awesome Sonic Lost World got because they can't figure stuff out themselves without being held by the hand or thrown infinite lives... I would try out this game if it was on Wii U as I don't play the underwhelming 3DS anymore ;)

sinalefa

#24

sinalefa said:

@CoderChild

Never saw that you posted until now. I discovered that somehow using the Control Pad instead of buttons make the game a little more responsive, but even taking those jump mechanics into account the double jump will not register sometimes.

I also find strange how this double jump is regarded as something useful for players, when other parts of the game are absolutely unforgiving and downright brutal. Pixel perfect jumps, leaps of faith, zero checkpoints and moving hazards without clear paths.

CoderChild

#25

CoderChild said:

@sinalefa Well that probably would be true if it was a game only about reflexes and dexterity, but that's not the case.
This game is about memorizing the actions and doing it at the right moment, like old arcade games.

In any case, it is ok if it doesn't appeal everybody : )

Glaceon

#28

Glaceon said:

I love this game! Its the best platformer game I've played yet, and it also has amazing music you play along to! I can see other people disliking it, because of how hard this game is...

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