In the exhilarating and fast-paced arena shooter that is Cuboid Keeper by Ottropi Games, we find ourselves inside a giant Cube floating in space. It is a vessel that contains a powerful secret defended only by the Guardian. Now an invading force has come for that secret. Therefore, it is the task of the Guardian to destroy every last one of these enemies.
The job of Cube defense is left to the player. As the Guardian the player moves between a variety of levels. Each level more difficult than the last. Within these levels are dangerous enemy vessels. In order to destroy an enemy, the Guardian uses plasma weapons. Throughout the game the Guardian can change form and gain more weapons. The more firepower the better the chances for victory. However, this game is not just about destroying enemy invaders. Beyond the high paced action there is a story. A story about factions and secrets.
As you progress the secrets of the Cube unfold through surprising dialogues. One of these dialogues is the Cube preparing the Guardian for the upcoming level. The other takes place as static dialogue in the Cube’s headquarters. Within the headquarters, the player can customize and evolve their Guardian. It is here a dialogue regarding the history of the Cube is displayed. A history told through the galactic records.
Following the dialogue it is time to move onto the level. The player selects a level in the headquarters along with a difficulty. There are two difficulties, easy and hard. However, don’t let the easy difficulty fool you. This game will test your skills at either level. Another interesting aspect is the levels are not linear. Progression occurs from different areas of the Cube. Additionally, each of these levels have an alternating design with an unpredictable collection of enemies. Using the level design can aid in the Guardian’s fight or hinder based on additional obstacles. One such obstacle is the dynamic glowing blocks. Touch one of these blocks and the the Guardian loses health.
Another challenge is learning the controls and the gameplay. Despite a tutorial at the beginning, Cuboid Keeper’s high pace and varied enemies require a steep learning curve. However, to make it easier the game includes the option to use either keyboard, keyboard and mouse, or controller. Both keyboard and controller are good when it comes to movement. Even with good movement, the difficulty is in the firing mechanics. With the mouse you get a target to aim at the enemies while right clicking fires the plasma cannons. In this situation controlling the firing while maneuvering around enemies proves a challenge. As for the controller, the player uses both sticks, left for movement and right for firing. The trick is to stabilize the Guardian when firing while moving. After a few levels and builds it gets easier.
Let me say the controls do not in any way lessen the game. It just takes some skill and practice to find the right balance and learn the firing mechanics. Having the ability to reconfigure the Guardian is helpful. When one solution doesn’t work out, try another. This by far is one of the great things about Cuboid Keeper. That is, to give the player a player’s experience.
Another ability of the Guardian is switching between an aggressive block and the passive spark mode. While in spark mode player’s can quickly maneuver around enemy attacks and gather quad fragments. These fragments add to your score multiplier. Player’s also receive blue and gold fragments. With these fragments you can build your Guardian by breaking blocks and adding modules. In addition, health and plasma cannon modules can be purchased. Special modules on the other hand are unlocked with only one available to use.
Unlike the plasma cannons, special modules have limited ammo. Also, don’t forget health modules. Health is required to survive levels and the rapid onslaught of invading forces.
Speaking of invading forces. They consist of a variety of different vessels ranging from robotic and space vessel designs to giant cogwheels with immense firepower. While most vessels attack by coming at the Guardian, others, including bosses, can fire energy weapons and projectiles. When the enemies do hit, the Guardian losses health. Adding to the level of difficulty, enemies spawn at different locations around the map. In turn, this leads to the greatest challenge, not knowing what will spawn.
Therefore, your mission is to destroy all enemies. Usually a few shots take out the smaller ones. While larger enemies require more hits to destroy them. Another observation, is the more you fight a specific enemy the easier it becomes to defeat them. Their movements become predictable. Basically, each enemy has a set movement. Though they do seem to follow my Guardian. Now that may seem good for the player. However, it is in the evolving levels, rapid onslaught, and not knowing what will spawn next that predictability ends. In turn, requiring the player to think fast.
To make this an extra special arena shooter we have boss fights. I thought the first boss fight was a challenge then came other bosses with lasers and rapid movements. It takes strategy and quick thinking to beat a boss. Although, if you follow each firing sequence you eventually beat a boss. As with other enemies, there are only so many moves to a boss. Just be aware of their weapon system and move quick. This might require some patience. In the end, the boss fights are intense. They can happen on their own or after you just fought a swarm for the past 2 to 3 minutes.
Once you get the countdown clock, the level is just about done. It is now time to relax and gather the left over quad fragments.
In the end, this game is not just a time waster but also a high intensity adrenaline rush. Despite a learning curve, once you get into the game it is going to be hard to stop. Furthermore, each level adds a new element with challenging enemies and obstacles. Also adding to the experience is the arcade quality of music, providing the perfect atmosphere.
All things considered, this is a great arena shooter and good challenge lasting through forty intense levels. While playing, don’t forget about the dialogue it just adds to the entire gaming experience that is Cuboid Keeper.