Let me start by saying Cubivore is not a game for everybody. The best I can describe it is as a mix of a Tamagotchi virtual pet, and Sim City thrown together with a touch of action. This game requires patience as it has a slow pace and unfolds gradually. Atlus is known for making innovated games, and Cubivore is no exception.
You start the game as a newborn that has just been brought into the world. As a Cubivore, you must attack and then eat the meat of your enemies to grow stronger. Each enemy you eat is a different color and has a different amount of meat on them. Eating and combining different colors of meat cause the Cubivore to “mutate.” The more you mutate, the more the females will mate with you. The more females that mate with you, the more offspring you can have. The more offspring you have, the more species you can mutate into. Each mutation has different abilities and stats. The player must pick one to best suit the situation at hand. For example, the player will want to change to a form that has more attack or defense power if going up against multiple targets, or change to a form that allows you to move faster to make travel easier. To fully understand the concept, one must probably play it in order to be fully aware of all the rules of the game.
The game plays in a simplistic fashion. Basically, there are three buttons for combat. The “A” button is used to attack an enemy by pouncing on it. “B” is used to defend against incoming attacks resulting in a lower energy loss. And “Y” growls at the enemy to scare it. I found that this growl attack rarely works and doesn’t really serve a purpose in the game. Since there is only one type of attack in to the entire game, this makes battles long and drawn out. This is where that patience comes into play. The “L” button is used to lock onto an enemy. Once an enemy has been locked on, the Cubivore can then perform its pounce attack.
Each level is basically the same. You start at point A and must travel to point B. However, point B is usually blocked by land that you can’t travel over until a specific bug is eaten. After you hunt down these little bugs that make the land crossable, you will encounter a boss. A boss will usually have one or two more limbs than you, making each boss fight difficult. Also, the boss often has two slightly less powerful minions attacking as well. As a result, each boss battle is very difficult because you are taking on three stronger Cubivores all at once. If you manage to survive the fight, you are rewarded with a new piece of meat, which allows you to mate with females. After mating, offspring are produced and the player must select which form he wants to assume next. This process continues mostly throughout the game until you are “King of the Cubivores.” This repeating process can be boring, but players that are into “Catching Them All” like Pokemon, will like this factor in Cubivore. After enemies have been eaten or offspring born, new techniques are acquired. These include things like faster running and higher jumping. Eventually, your Cubivore will take on more animal like shapes by obtaining horns, tongues, and fangs. All help in their own unique way.
Everything in this game is in the shape of a cube. Enemies, your character, environments, and even items are all blocks. Because of the lack of complex polygons, the game will never experience slow down or a choppy frame rate. Environments are a simple shape composed of blocks that serve as borders, grassy knolls, bodies of water, and many other imaginable terrains. To see the entire level, the C-Stick can be manipulated to view the land at different angles. However, the camera doesn’t move smoothly and must be tapped in increments instead of one fluid motion. Furthermore, sometimes when fighting multiple enemies the camera begins to stray and will actually follow an enemy instead of the player. You’ll start to wonder why you traveled off the screen as enemies are attacking you. On an unrelated note, the music fits the game well with its soft jungley beat but is nothing special as it doesn’t really stick out and can grow to be repetitive.
Atlus has made another quirky game. This title probably isn’t worth a purchase, but I’d say that a rental is definitely in order. Everyone should at least try this game for its uniqueness and innovation. Fans of Pokemon and virtual pets will appreciate this title the most because the game unfolds slowly with its many rules and difficult combat. The game has some replay value because you are given the chance to evolve into every form but at the same time, the lack of multiplayer brings this category down. Once you mutate into every form and beat the Cubivore King, you yourself will become the “King of Cubivores.” The question is, do you really want to?