Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Indie Game Review - Cubetractor

I was sent a review copy of Cubetractor quite a while ago and had to put it on a back burner, but now that I've had a chance to give it a proper playtest - what a terrific little game this is!  Admittedly for the modern generation, the wonderful retro graphics and chiptune music may not appeal, but the blend of arcade, puzzle and strategy elements is beautifully balanced and results in both frenetic action and deep strategic thinking - sometimes simultaneously!

You play as a robot, a cubetractor, whose goal in life is to ... well, tractor beam cubes towards you.  In doing so, you can make things, destroy things, overcome obstacles, take out defences and... pretty much anything you need to.  You start off needing to pass an "exam", although the storyline brought out by chatter from different robots at the start of each level suggests that you may be a rather mischievous robot and possibly malfunctioning.  

There is a main quest to follow, with optional side quests (levels) to select if you want to.  The levels start out very easy, gradually getting trickier, and soon enough you're really battling to work out how to complete the level you're on, and a couple of hours have passed.  Some levels tend to require more planning, others more fast reflexes (or that may be due to my lack of proper planning on these levels?!), whilst others still test both pretty thoroughly.

For those only familiar with modern games the graphics and sound probably won't appeal, but if you like retro aesthetics you're in for a real treat here - both the visuals and the soundtrack are absolutely spot on, very retro indeed but maintaining their own style as well. 

The gameplay is a great mix of arcade, strategy and puzzle elements; the game is no pushover, and certainly if you want to go back through each level and try to achieve the "Gold" rating for each stage, you're in with a very long-term challenge - but I found progressing through the levels, sometimes scoring very well, at other times scraping through by the skin of my teeth - always enjoyable.  There are a decent number of levels and plenty of replay value.

It may have taken me quite a while to get round to playing Cubetractor, but now that I have, I'm going to find it difficult to stop playing and move on to my next review... you can get it on Steam and all the usual suspects.


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