The Action Leaves Something To Be Desired – Cube Life Pixel Action Heroes (WiiU)
By Zoe Howard On 27 Jul, 2017 At 07:43 PM | Categorized As Featured, NINTENDO, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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You would think with the backlash from games like Titanfall 1 and Star Wars Battlefront developers would have learned that releasing games that are only a glorified versus modes is a bad idea, especially when your game visually mirrors (almost to a point of infringement) the already popular hit Minecraft. Yet Cube Pixel Action Hero offers enough of a novel concept of the classic FPS game that it was worth the look.

Let’s start with the basics. Typically that would be to explain the story, but this game doesn’t have one. Even though it says it has a single player mode, it is simply practicing against A.I. enemies. Why this actually exists when the game only allows you up to two players seems kind of odd.

The main mode is called creative which allows you to build your own levels to fight in. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Being allowed to build and save your own levels to fight in is actually a fun idea for a first person shooter. If you have played Minecraft then you already know how this mode works. Remove the blocks you don’t want and place the blocks you do. You won’t be lost trying to use the game interface and items either. The in-game menus work and look a lot like those in Minecraft. This will allow for the quick building of levels since there isn’t that much you actually have to learn.

The biggest downfall of the games create mode is the size limitation. The space you are given to build in is extremely small. Blood Gulch from Halo Is like a whole continent compared to the space you have to work with here. Once you see the maps already available in the game you will realize this is how they all are. The whole game is close quarters combat, which makes sense when you realize this game, based on FPS multiplayer, is local play only. There won’t be any massive online skirmishes here. In fact, there is only two players maximum in the game so getting friends together to play is barely an option unless you like playing one-on-one tournaments.

In practice mode, you fight A.I. opponents who have guns. You get five maps to chose from and five lives to survive. This is where the game’s core idea comes into play. With the game being a first person shooter that utilizes Minecraft mechanics, you can break through walls and the ground and create your own traps and paths to the enemies. This means the world is yours to work with and use to try to gain an advantage. This mechanic actually works really well. I was in the game quickly breaking walls to escape enemies as soon as it began. The only problem is the poor programming of the computer opponents. There is no diversity in what the A.I. opponents do. They just move towards you from across the map and make no attempt (outside of Halo jumping) to avoid the bullets. Knowing exactly where you are at all times, they can move on you quickly. This takes a lot of the creative elements out of the game and makes it strictly a kill them all as they approach scenario.

Zombie mode is just your average wave challenge in an incredibly small area (about the size of a basketball court). You get five maps that are slightly smaller than those in practice mode. There is no variety in how this is done. The item drops are frequent and keep you well stocked. The zombies either just run at you or Halo jump to avoid the bullets. Run backward in a circle and time your shots and you will generally plow through them. It took me no real effort to get to wave 18. The biggest challenge this mode offers are the runners who move as fast as you do. The first wave boss at level 10 never got close to me.

There are pre-made characters that are all caricatures of action heroes. Much in the style of BroForce, the characters are pretty obvious. Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Lee and many other likenesses are represented here. Sadly there is only one pre built female character out of the 18 prebuilt templates and if she is supposed to be someone famous then I don’t know her. Seriously, how hard would it be to make an Ellen Ripley from Aliens or Sarah Connor from Terminator 2? The character likenesses are as far as the references go. They all share the same bland male voice that really does nothing. This includes the lone female character.

The game does have a character designer mode that lets you customize a character to use in the game. This is a pretty good feature considering you can use the stylus on the Game Pad’s screen to do some creative work. This would be a pretty nice feature if they actually included a few other options. As with the pre-made characters, they all share the same voice. Considering that is the main source of reaction from the character (pre-made or custom) it makes the experience bland and makes the characters forgettable.

There are two big gripes with this game. The first is the first thing you will experience in the game. The title screen and the options all require the touch pad to use. There is no ability to use the arrow keys and buttons to move through the menus. I don’t know if this is maybe because it was planned as a mobile game or what, but it makes the game really annoying every time I had to go back to the menus.  What makes this even funnier is that the touch screen isn’t used at all in the actual game. While this is a good thing, it just makes me ask why they have touch screen function at all, especially considering how hard they are to use. You have to be precise with how you touch the buttons or it won’t register.

The second issue in the game is the gun mechanics. The target reticule is pretty big for most of the guns. The zombies will run fast and Halo Jump (seriously, why is this an acceptable mechanic?) when you target them. You have to be precise with your shots. This is made more difficult with the wide bullet spread of many of the guns. While this isn’t impossible to get used to, it does point out that the targeting could be tightened a bit.

In the end, this game was just not that fun. The little bit of creativity they added to the FPS genre doesn’t hold the game above its shortcomings. This honestly feels like it should be called My First Multiplayer Shooter. It really gives the impression that it was made for kids. Yet there is some creativity and challenge that they tried to put in place for the adults.

The game is six dollars and some change. If you want a game that is like Minecraft with guns, you could have some fun with this. I think my nephew might enjoy it, but this is a really hard game to recommend. I want to end with a positive thought. Their seed of inspiration. The idea of using the Minecraft mechanics in a FPS is still a solid idea. While it missed the mark in this one it could be nurtured into something far more creative and a lot more fun. I hope the company doesn’t give up on the idea and finds a way to make it more compelling.

Side note to the entire industry (both big and small developers). Single player story modes are fun and get people used to your mechanics and world before going into the multiplayer. Games without them tend to do badly. It makes the characters bland and lifeless.

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