August 16, 2012 1:00 AM | Staff
[Guest reviewer Colin Brown profiles each game in the Gone Fishin' Bundle, now available at IndieGames' co-created site: Indie Royale.]
The next game in our whirlwind tour of the latest Indie Royale is 3Sprockets' Cubemen. At first glance this probably looks like some kind of tower defence, and, well, that's exactly what it is. But like any good indie game, it tweaks the established genre just enough to present a unique experience with just a handful of alterations to the formula.
Firstly, and most obviously, your towers are actually little cubemen, ready to come to your defence. The game offers up a handful of different classes armed with pistols, flamethrowers, rocket launchers and the like, which can be ordered to station any valid spot on the board. Of course, your orders for each cubeman can be easily changed on the fly, so you can swap out weak cubemen for heavier artillery, order the lot of them to charge a particularly well fortified vantage point or just to strafe alongside a particularly powerful enemy. The net effect is that the game feels like a grid based RTS, which is a neat way of going back to the roots of tower defence games in a new way.
Flaunting your defence minded tactics will serve you well in the traditional tower defence battles that make up Defence mode, but there are a couple other interesting modes to play. Skirmish is essentially a two player tower defence with some striking DOTA similarities. In this mode, you each must guard your own exits while providing support for the creeps that spawn in every wave. It's an inventive way to make a two player competitive mode, and supports both AI and online human opponents. The other mode is Mayhem, which throws six cube armies onto the field with your choice of a partners match or a free for all battle royale. This mode is online only, though AI will fill any empty spots. It's definitely the highlight for me, thanks to the chaotic strategy and ruthless fights for territory.
The one issue that cropped up from time to time is some poor AI problems, particularly the way that cubemen often stand and take hits from an enemy they could easily counter, but refuse to jump into action unless you manually target for them. This isn't a game breaker, but expect to deal with more micromanagement than the average tower defence.
Also included in this Indie Royale is the PC debut of another 3Sprockets title. This one is an iOS title called VectorGeddon, and is essentially a variant on Missile Command with rather fetching graphics and a few modern tweaks. In VectorGeddon, you must click on asteroids to fire seeking missiles and keep Earth safe and well populated. Blowing up asteroids earns resources, which can be used to buy additional missile launchers and various upgrades. Like the original, letting an asteroid hit your bases will render them unusable, so efficient missile use is key to keep the planet safe. It's not very difficult, especially with some later overpowered upgrades, but it is a good looking and fun way to spend an hour or so.
[ Cubemen, VectorGeddon, All Zombies Must Die!, SOL: Exodus, and three other games are available in the Gone Fishin' Bundle at IndieGames' co-created site: Indie Royale.]