Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad Air
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
There was a game we used to play at recess where someone would swing a thick rope around in a circle low to the ground and we’d have to jump over it when it got to us. I think it was called "Snakebite." At first it seemed pretty cute and harmless, but man that thing hurt if it caught you. Happy Cube Death Arena, besides having a similar gameplay concept, shares that same combination of cute yet horribly violent. However it’s also very, very shallow.
In Happy Cube Death Arena, players try to keep a little blue smiling wiggly block alive as long as possible by having it leap over oncoming obstacles. Avoiding slow rolling spiked logs is pretty easy, but then come the lasers flying in diagonally, and eventually multiple traps start zooming around at once. To jump players just tap the screen, and tap again in mid-air to double-jump. There’s no other movement, so survival is simply a matter of finding the right rhythm and knowing what kind of jump to do at what time. Last long enough and the combo meter grows, providing lots of glittery positive feedback. But fail and wind up a greasy cerulean smear.
And that’s it. Happy Cube Death Arena is the kind of one-touch time waster that’s almost fallen out of vogue as more exploitative money-wasters tighten their stranglehold on mobile. The visual contrast between the bubbly enthusiasm of the cube and the grim, dark dungeon that inevitably, brutally murders it entertains. But it’s not enough to keep the gameplay interesting for more than a handful of rounds. Unfortunately, the game also lacks the kind of easy extras that might have made the repetition more bearable; quick stuff like different looks for the cube or different environments. As it stands now, most of the game’s content fits in one screenshot.
Happy Cube Death Arena is a well-made, gleefully gory distraction, but its nearly nonexistent variety means players can see all it has to offer on a lunch break. No need to keep this one installed forever.