14 people found this review helpful
Recommended
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 7.4 hrs on record
Posted: Jan 15, 2019 @ 5:23pm
Updated: Jan 15, 2019 @ 8:31pm
Product received for free

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Cuboid Keeper is a top-down twin-stick shooter that really thrives on simple gameplay with subtle complexity, action-packed levels, and a fair amount of challenge to any gamer looking for the next best indie title on Steam. The game is not just run forward with guns ablaze, though the goal is still to destroy all in your path, cautious action seems to be the case in many levels. The story is fairly well-written with a mild hint of humor to tie everything together. The customizable protagonist that the player controls allows for the player to shape up the gameplay to his or her liking, giving the game a different feel for each individual who plays. Complementing the game is a really upbeat and intense soundtrack that helps to keep the player on his or her toes. The controls feel really smooth, both on the keyboard and on the controller. The game is not without faults, however, as the requirement at times to unlock further levels requiring the player to beat some harder levels may deter some people from being able to see the game to the end, even on Easy mode. In addition,some explosions in largely crowded locations can mask remaining enemies, and there are some typos and grammar errors that may bug a small percentage of the crowd. Overall, this game deserves a lot of attention and praise, for it is not only good, but also excellently priced at $6.99 USD, making it easily accessible to most. If you like indie games, and you are into twin-stick shooters, you absolutely need to try this game. There's a demo available, so why not give it a try and decide for yourself?

Gameplay
Strip down the story and the extras, Cuboid Keeper is a really nice top-down twin-stick shooter with a fairly wide variety of level designs, each its own arena survival experience that changes the further on you get into the game.

Each level comes in Easy and Hard difficulties. And the game requires the player to play more than just the Easy levels for progression. There are many points where the game requires the player to have completed a certain number of hard levels as well in order to move forward. The game does not require the player to play through the Easy difficulty in order to try the Harder version, which is nice. Though these lock points may push some potential players away with its need to complete a higher difficulty. The protagonist vessel that you control powers up throughout the game. So taking on the harder difficulty levels from closer to the beginning of the game after some story progress will be not so challenging.

Speaking of powering up, you really need to understand a little bit about your character, which is titled "Guardian." It is a robotic device with a core and surrounding blocks. Only the core needs to remain exactly as it is, otherwise, the other blocks can be removed and altered to fit the wishes of the player. You can also expand the size and shape of your character as you progress forward, as you earn shards that allows you to expand after each new level completed or new difficulty completed for a same level. Of course it is really difficult to describe this, and it took me a while after I started playing to understand what's going on. Please see my video below for a blind first-look gameplay experience. (I think I discovered midway that you can actually expand and alter the "Guardian" in a meaningful way.)

The game has a decent number of levels, and even though each one is a survival arena, the altered geometries, different enemies, various obstacles, etc. ensure that each level is a different experience on its own. The bosses are all pattern-based and have a variety of actions that will require the player to do some learning as you go and to adapt to the movement and attack patterns.

In addition, the game is more than just running forward with guns ablaze, as I mentioned before. When not firing, your body is condensed into a single point for avoiding obstacles in the form of enemies, enemy fire, or other hazards. So when you are among hazards and you want to fire, you need to get yourself to an area that is large enough for you to materialize and not take damage.

There are achievements in this game, and some of them are really challenging. I think anyone who wants to go for 100% will have to try and retry several of the levels a lot, even when most of the levels will only take a few minutes to complete otherwise.

Controls
Controls well with keyboard and mouse as well as the controller in the twin-stick fashion. The controls are really easy to learn and are very intuitive. I played mostly on an Xbox One controller and it worked perfectly. The pressure sensitivities are really well translated from the joystick to the game.

Graphics
Simplistic in style, but there's a good variety of enemies that really throw off the player. The game is clearly inspired by Geometry Wars in more than one area, but it certainly has a life of its own. The bosses are also fairly simple in design, but work well with the story and the gameplay. The on-screen explosions and all of the constant action may lead to unwanted and accidental contact damage for the player, but I am speaking from a personal experience perspective, perhaps most others won't face this situation.

Music
I really like the music, it does a really good job intensifying the action in many situations.

Audience
Not for the most casual players because it does get a ramp up in difficulty, especially around halfway through the game. But there's a demo, and the game is cheap enough, so at least try it.

Pricing
Can't complain at all about the $6.99 baseline price, it's cheap enough that most players can give a reasonable go at it. Now if you are really super skilled and this game poses as no challenge, it may not be worth it, but I think those people are few and far in between.

Positives
+Fun gameplay
+Simple but game-altering ship-building mechanic in between levels
+Nice written story to tie the game together (even gives you the story from multiple perspectives)
+Simple graphics, colorful, and some nice effects
+Easy to learn, difficult to master
+Really responsive controls on controller as well as KB+Mouse
+Achievements that are reasonable, with some that are really difficult to promote replay value

Negatives
-Explosions are sometimes too many on screen to cause player to take unnecessary contact damage (personal experience speaking).
-Some typos and grammar errors that can be easily fixed (there's one in the video that I commented on).
-The need to play some levels on hard to unlock certain points of the story and following levels.

Conclusion
Cuboid Keeper is just as the title suggests, it's a keeper. It's fun, exciting, with short levels that can fit into any schedule. The witty story written in to tie the game together is fun to read through. And there is enough challenge for anyone, especially some people may wish to take on some of the more difficult achievements with a minimal build to maximize difficulty. There is really very little to dislike about this game, and with its cheap price and available demo, you definitely should check it out.

Here's my blind first-look gameplay video for anyone who is interested:

https://youtu.be/O1Rkm9j_6xk

I received the product for free. I did not receive any compensation to write this review. The opinions represented here are entirely my own and were not influenced in any way.
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Developer response:
Ottropi Games  [developer] Posted: Jan 15, 2019 @ 6:46pm
Thanks a lot for your review!

I would like to point out that since version 1.1, it is possible to play the entire game in easy difficulty. There is no need to play previous levels in hard.

There are also help tips that appear to indicate that the building zone can be expanded.

These updates were based on your gameplay video, for which I thank you (once again).
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1 Comments
YQMaoski Jan 15, 2019 @ 8:35pm 
@Ottropi Games, it was my pleasure to write the review, as I really do think it's an outstanding game that should get some more attention. I have modified the review a bit to reflect some of your changes as well. I am glad that you decided to edit out the need to play the harder levels for progression. If my video/review helped you improve your game in any way, I am happy with the result. Good luck!