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Cube Tactics 3DS eShop Review

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Offensive Tower Defense –

Blending RTS, tower defense, and strategy elements, Cube Tactics is an unexpected charming five dollar eShop download that is worth your time.

This Teyon published title can probably be best described as an “offensive tower defense” as the player has to plan for both offensive and defensive maneuvers by placing different cubes on an invisible floating grid.  Starting with a single home base core cube, the goal is to destroy your opponent’s home base cube.  Some cubes will infinitely spawn attacking units, like melee soldiers or ranged archers, some cubes will help with defense, like the barricades or bear traps, and some cubes will simply connect two pieces of land.  The key here is accessibility; since soldiers spawn and act on their own, the player does not have to focus on the micromanaging like that of an RTS but instead can simply focus on where each cube will be placed.  This keeps pacing fast and suited perfectly for a mobile environment; most matches do not last longer than a few minutes.

Battles can be chaotic.

The strategy element comes into play thanks to a rock-paper-scissor and terrain balancing act.  In other words, Cube Tactics is sort of like a multi-tiered game of Chess as each piece is best used in a certain situation.  Further, instead of Zerging your opponent, it might be more beneficial to first build up the terrain surrounding your side of the map to gain the high ground or build up an army before linking your base with the opponent’s.  There is a shocking amount of depth built into this tiny game but always remains accessible.  The opening tutorial will have players up and running in under ten minutes and there are a couple dozen campaign stages to tackle, each progressively growing in difficulty.  The level design keeps things fresh and forces plays to reusing the same pieces in new ways. Later levels sometimes have a jarring difficulty spike and will require multiple attempts even for strategy pros.

As surprising as this title is, there are a couple of drawbacks.  First, some stages feel a bit limited in terms of scope.  Each stage is restricted to a certain sized grid, which is totally fine, but the game does not inform the player of this.  For example, there were times that I was planning to swoop around my opponent by wanting to place cubes outside of the grid.  The problem is, the grid is invisible, bound by deceiving invisible walls.  The player has the option to select the grid size when starting a custom match but determining the edges of the battlefield is still misleading thanks to the open sky/cloud empty background.  Also, I was getting error codes when trying to play online.  Perhaps this bug with the Nintendo Network will be ironed out in time but at the time of this review playing online resulted in disconnects even when acting as the host. Finally, the player is awarded stat changing medals when certain tasks are accomplished – think perks from a Call of Duty title.  While these medals give the player something to strive for, it might tip the balance a little too much from veteran players versus newcomers.  But because the online feature wasn’t fully working, I was unable to fully test out this concern.

Look mom, no grid or boundaries.

With a few different playable modes and gameplay with charming personality, Cube Tactics is an inexpensive eShop sleeper hit that can entertain for a couple of hours.  If the online kinks get ironed out, this title will stand as one of the best Teyon published titles.

Not As Good As: Plants Vs Zombies
Better Than: Robot Rescue 3D
Also Try: Defense Grid: The Awakening

By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief

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