Version Reviewed: 1.0.6
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
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Tower defense is the genre that will never die. Tower defense games will even outlive the cockroaches. Cubemen is the latest entry in this venerable genre, though technically the towers are blocky little men made of cubes. They must be strategically deployed, from the cheap cannon fodder units to the pricey rocket units, in order to keep the enemy of the other color from overrunning the base, because that's how things go in the land of tower defense. This is actually 3D tower defense, where the levels have various heights, and there are even some spaces directly under one another.
Cubemen's strength comes from the variety of game modes. There's the classic tower defense mode, limited players and cubes modes, an endless mode, sudden death where one red unit that gets past the defenses means game over, and Just Rockets, where it's all rocket units all the time. There are global leaderboards for each stage, with the ability to rate stages. Cubemen's leaderboards and online multiplayer are all cross-platform between the iPad, Mac, and Steam versions of the game.
Now, Cubemen gets extremely difficult in anything beyond the easy levels, which means that this is really for the strategy experts. Fans of geoDefense's level of difficulty, particularly in the way that the game basically required a perfect opening in order to not be overwhelmed, should love this one. "Just Rockets" mode proves to be some of the most fun the game has because it's much easier and thus a bit more accessible, thanks to having one extremely powerful unit to deploy against enemies that wind up being overmatched.
The controls with a free-camera 3D interface prove a theoretical challenge, but they work with generally positive results. It's easy to move a character to a specific spot, and the camera controls work well for traversing the 3D fields, but changing the path of the characters is a challenge, and the sometimes-small squares to travel to are tricky to use. Zooming in is more than just a useful way to see the blocky men the player is sending off to their doom, but also to make individual unit management easier.
As a note, the game is currently only compatible with the iPad (excluding the first generation model), likely due to interface needs and the game's cross-platform development, but I don't see any reason why it couldn't be adapted for the iPhone.
Cubemen is not the friendliest tower defense game out there, but its cross-platform support and unique elements are enough to make it a good recommendation for fans of the genre.