46 of 55 people (84%) found this review helpful 1 person found this review funny
4.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 21, 2014
Cube & Star is a game I very much wanted to enjoy, but unfortunately, the game doesn't give you enough back to warrant continued play.
You're a cube in a mostly-colorless land. You begin your quest mostly without direction. You interact with other cubes and surface-dwellers. You start to color in the environments. You meet a tiny thing and discover there may be more to them to meet the eye. It all seems like something very clever is beneath the surface, but as the hours went by, I couldn't find it. Like the other reviews say, achievements are broken. Even after you decode the language of the tiny things, not much is revealed other than cryptic laments.
As you collect currency and stars and such relics, you eventually feel the grind and pointlessness of your quest. You can spend hours coloring in the world...but when you figure out how to open the map and figure out how the big world is....you release you could easily spend another large quantity of hours filling in all the empty spaces. And for what? The tediousness of my journey weighs heavily on my cube-like shoulders, and it is with much regret that I finally ceased to roll across the plains.
Cube and Star feels like it aspires to something great but then maddeningly keeps it forever out of reach of the player.
40 of 51 people (78%) found this review helpful 1 person found this review funny
2.3 hrs on record
Posted: February 14, 2014
I adore this game and I can hardly explain why; the color, music, and totally minimalist gameplay create an experience can perhaps only be described as 'fun', pure, simple 'fun' untethered by our expectations of a plot or any discernable end goal.
At its current (sale) price you'll more than get your money's worth from simply trying to decode messages.
Confused you? I'm confused myself. All I know is I'm having fun.
I, like many others here, can't help but be strangely compelled to play. Instead of just leaving it at that though, I'll try to put what I feel in words. This game seems like it was developed to be the ulitmate abstract expression of both the 90's "collect-a-thon" platformers and the modern open-world "sandbox" games. It's minimalistic aesthetic serves well the feeling of exploration and the occasional bits of story you recieve from journal pieces and conversations are tantalizing enough to entice you to find them all and piece together the entirety of the narrative.
While the gameplay so far has never diversed from "roll around, color, collect, talk" I don't think it needs to, it's a testament to the philosophy that simplicity is key and sometimes overthought in the game design process isn't required. In addition to the of the world beng a clever mechanic, it also lends a hand to the relaxing nature of the game and imparts a sense of ownership as no two worlds will be the same and you can feel proud of your coloring as you traverse your world.
There really isn't much negative to say about the game, but one should be informed the game has no save mechanic. This is by design and I really don't think it needs to have saving, but definitely make sure to make time for this game because all of your work will be lost upon closing. (edit: ive been informed this is no longer the case and the game saves on exit. YAY!)
That's really all I have to say about Cube & Star: An Arbitrary Love. I don't think this will win over some gamers but I would encourage everyone to at least try it. What's here is something that to the best of my knowledge hasn't been done before, and the results come together in a delightful and fascinating way.
I did not buy this in a bundle. I bought it solo on IndieGameStand for $1 because it looked great. This interactive screensaver (**not game) is tolerable for $2-3. $5 is too much. To be fair, I did enjoy my zen time in this flawed non-game.
This application is like an alpha concept demo. LIke wandering through a 1st person shooter with no bullets or melee, you get a good sense of feel of the presentation without any game mechanics implemented.
The gameplay is missing. Like a small developer who had a beautiful project envisioned which he never had time to finish. Rather than junk all the work, he/she releases the incomplete alpha app (avoiding the word 'game'). I get it. Developing a game is tough; life moves forward; the author must eat; other priorities overshadow this project. I think it is a beautiful project. Sell the Alpha for $1 maybe and perhaps finish it at a later date.
If the author were to finish the game, I envision a bear eating berries and having a transformative effect on the environment. Or a bee or collection of bees pollinating the neighborhood and effecting change on the makeup of the flora. (The dev is like a bee--he works very hard, and we gamers come expecting delicious honey for next to nothing $$ and do not care whether the worker starves for his hard work. I actually applaud what the author started here.)
However, again, there is NO real game mechanic. I read the reviews that say this app was meant to behave as a tranquil zen sandbox--No, that is a cop-out excuse for a demo released before it had a game built around the concept.
I have extra time on my hands, so I can drop my 12 hours into this game for even Zen foolishness. Most of you cannot--play 15-30 minutes of this, then Uninstall. The app is like painting your house with a trimming brush and full set of watercolors. It takes forever but you end up with a nice kaleidoscope result. That is all that happens.
The app even mocks you with fake/useless collectibles and makes parallel references to the futility of life. Why not take this beautiful app as the pollen/seed spreader and tack on a few simple game mechanics. (ex: Cultivate this red plant in the NE side of the garden. The Blue plants and ladybugs and animals flourish as you succeed.) Develop some weak but simple game mechanic by producing/accomplishing a small goal. Rinse and repeat for a few dozen challenges. The sandbox all works mostly the same, but my idea gives some reason to play or immersion to polinate/transfer/spread each plant color.
Instead, there are no instructions--nothing accomplished--All the plants, bushes and trees have their own inherent colors that do not change. Your only action is to paint a hue to the ground/grass beneath them by picking nearby color from a unchangeable plant. As you paint, there are 100 other bugs slowly painting the areas that you have brought to life--so you have no real control of color.
Instead, you paint the world with a tiny trim brush. You do a little--then do a lot until you realize that your own input is not really having much effect but the world remains grey and incomplete, so one might grind for the futility of a full color completion. The world needs to be 5 to 10 times smaller because it takes too damn long for no better finished result.
Pursuit of Achievements is a silly set of badges in many games. There are a plethora of nonsensical achievements. "Make a swollen and fertile world" 0/50 What?! How would any of this be accomplished? "Sprinkle a modest joy over the world" 0/20. It wants you to cover 20% of the world with Yellow. Over half of the areas are painted by bugs with a semi-permanent color which the player cannot change. So, how would I get 20% of the world yellow? Most of the achievements revolve around a find-a-needle-in-a-haystack subgame. After walking the whole world around and making small interactions--you will quickly accomplish quite a few nonsense achievement. (Bump into 1 beetle.)
The only controls are WASD (configurable + controller) Remember I have the luxury of doing nothing but wander for hours WASD, redipping the paintbrush every few feet, After revealing color to the world 6 hours later, I was about to uninstall the app. 4 of the needles-in-the-haystack are colored runes that go into the useless stacks of Zen sayings, Zen history, Zen coins, Zen jewels, Zen artifacts. All useless.
SPOILER ALERT that should have been put in the nonexistant instructions/tutorial: 6 hours done, ready to uninstall, it turns out, that if you click the 4 Runes while standing still 6 times, your paintbrush will drop a few paintballs which will bounce around and change a small to medium area around you. It is random--so you have a new tool which just introduces more randomness into the world. Not a means to guide the color development. Now there is a population of little people that walk around with their paintbrushes too. So, instead of competing with the 300 bugs, you now also compete with 100s of "LittleThings" that also shift the colors of the environment. No control. Just beautiful paints wandering the canvas--with your tiny ability to shift the localized colors a bit. The rest of the world shifts as it wants.
Keep doing that for hours instead crafting the look of the gardens, or making honey, or scaring a competing hive out of the neighborhood, or stinging the brutish humans who trample the gardens. All of these mechanics are missing.
Beautiful interactive screensaver game though. 4/10.
Today is 2014.Feb.19. At the time of this review, the game came out five days ago.
Firstly, this game needs a patch. Secondly, if you read the other reviews you'll notice that they all talk about how colorful and/or pretty the game is. Yes... this game is both colorful and pretty. But that's it.
The game offers nothing in the way of plot, gives you no motivation to explore other than to complete your map, and has very little in the way of interaction between you and the environment.
There is no options menu, the game forgets your music settings and always launches with music "on", I found three different bugs, experienced one crash, and most importantly lost some of my interface because I can't change the graphics settings (because there ARE NO GRAPHICS SETTINGS) and the HUD icons fall off the right side of my screen.
The three bugs I found were a missing "congratulations panel" when you find all the lore icons, I went invisible while "talking" with one of the NPC critters, and I have found several dozen "invisible trees" where they are there but not displayed.
The cryptography puzzle was laughably easy and solved in under four minutes.
This game's fatal flaw: filling in 100% of the map is almost impossible because the creatures that paint the world in their own right don't count toward your "fill" percentage and yet they have painted the tile so you can't visually tell which tiles you have missed. I got to 91.30% map completion in six hours and getting the last 8.7% is not going to happen because I'm done with this game.
Like Noby Noby Boy and Mountain, this is a toy more than a game. It's a constantly changing environment to interact with, where your cube bumps into stranger and stranger things as you explore the world further. You can influence the world in various ways, but it's a subtle, slow influence, especially compared to the industrious gardening of the game's other characters. So it's a zen game, something to switch off and relax with, an antidote to hours of SpaceChem brainburn. On another level, it's also a commentary on the psychology of achievements. Why collect coins that can never be spent? In a game about spreading colour and life, does it make sense to burn and kill things to unlock one achievement among a hundred?
I think this is going to to have limited appeal. In particular, if you absolutely need action, or character progression, or puzzles, or a story -- any of the things that constitute a game -- then look elsewhere. But in its best moments, Cube & Star goes beyond all that to capture the feeling of ambling along the shore, picking up shells and bits of wrack.
Starts off as interesting and relaxing but quickly becomes tedious after a while of playing. I think the game doesn't want you to play it, though. So the developer accomplished that much at the very least! I really did enjoy this for a while, but the fact that most of the achievements are broken as well as a lot of them being largely about wasting time (good luck with the 1 million stars achievement, seriously...) and I get the feeling that this game could've been better with a more interesting execution. There's some neat ideas here but ultimately it ends up simply not being too much fun for more than an hour or two.
Not really sure what to say about this game if we can name it like that, i`m confused like most of people talkin about this game. This game is just weird, but keep me playing for some strange reason. You should try if are able to get it cheap, but only if you like weird games, or at least dont mind :)