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iPhone  header logo

Space Qube

For: iPhone   Also on: iPad

Voxel nova

Product: Space Qube | Developer: Qubit Games | Publisher: Playground Publishing | Format: iPhone | Genre: Shooter | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.1.2
Space Qube iPhone, thumbnail 1
The humble cube is very popular right now, a trend that can almost certainly be attributed to the phenomenon that is Minecraft and the several games since that have followed Mojang's lead.

As aesthetics go, it's the logical next step from pixel-art and it's not quite ubiquitous enough - yet - to become uncool.

It's also the base element of this solid little iOS shooter. Cubes are everywhere here. Your ship is built from cubes, as are the power-ups and enemies. When you destroy the latter, they'll release cubes that act as your currency.

Indeed, Space Qube itself exhibits similar qualities to its geometric inspiration. It's a solid, appealing construction, but it's also arguably a little too basic to truly inspire.

All square

You begin with a choice of three blocky ships. One is fast but weak, another is less manoeuvrable but can take more damage, and the third - surprise! - is your dependable all-rounder. If that's not an oxymoron for a ship made from cubes.

The idea couldn't be simpler: blast everything that moves into tiny cuboid pieces. Yet the control scheme initially seems slightly awkward, mostly due to a confusing loading screen that tells you to touch either side of the screen to move your ship.

Instead, you slide your finger across the bottom of the screen to manoeuvre it, while faster swipes make it roll. It seems a little skittish at first, but you'll soon learn that smaller movements are fine, and you'll grow to appreciate the fine control it allows you.

Indeed, the dodge move seems almost redundant when you can simply zip quickly from side to side. The perfect barrel roll your ship pulls off looks stylish, but doesn't seem to make you harder to hit.

Geometric wars

In truth, it's hard to tell, because this is a busy game. When the action gets more hectic you'll see cube missiles flying in both directions as floating cubes from defeated enemies also hurtle towards you.

It's particularly tricky during boss battles, as differentiating your missiles from those of your opponent isn't always easy at the impressive speed the game moves at.

The bosses themselves, meanwhile, swoop and arc around and out of the screen. It's easy enough to avoid these incoming attacks, but less so when they emerge from behind you - though your life bar is long enough to cope with a few direct hits.

To tilt the balance back in your favour, power-ups appear periodically, from shields to a brief speed boost, rockets to a temporary period of bullet time. Sadly, these are triggered automatically, and the latter always seems to arrive just after you've dealt with a wave of enemies.

Block rockin' boosts

You can also spend the cubes you've picked up on upgrades for your ship, giving it a bit of extra firepower, or a magnet that sucks in cubes from farther away.

Meanwhile, special cubes can be picked up to unlock ships of a variety of designs, though you'll need several attempts to get all the ones you need.

Alternatively, you can build your own craft, choosing from 16x16 or 32x32 sizes, and painting in the individual layers on a grid. It's all very intuitive, yet surprisingly tricky to make something that looks decent.

Cubic fair

Qubit Games deserves credit for encouraging you to return without resorting to nagging notifications: you're awarded more cubes for playing on consecutive days, and it's balanced well enough that you never feel forced into paying for a cube pack.

Yet if the building element gives a fun but unremarkable shooter an extra hook, it's still not quite enough to prevent your attention from wandering.

Space Qube is ultimately a snack of a game that satisfies in small portions, but doesn't really provide any long-lasting sustenance.
Space Qube
Reviewer photo
Chris Schilling | 10 October 2013
Despite being entertaining in bursts and boasting a decent ship-building experience, Space Qube is a little too simple to be anything more than a brief fling
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