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Cubic Castles

Cubic Castles is a sandbox voxel MMO where players harvest resources and design their own world. Create a challenging platformer for players to complete, visit intricate neighboring worlds, or set up a shop to sell rare items in your realm.

Publisher: Cosmic Cow LLC
Playerbase: Medium
Type: Sandbox MMO
Release Date: August 13, 2014
Pros: +Robust in-game economy. +Easy building and crafting tools. +Unique in-game items to design platformer worlds.
Cons: -Camera angle prevents versatile play. -Extensive grinding required. -Clunky user interface (designed for tablets/mobile devices).

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Overview

Cubic Castles Overview

Cubic Castles is an MMO block-building game developed by Cosmic Cow LLC. Players explore an enormous map where every players has their own realm, that players design themselves. Scavenge for blocks and resources by mining environments, such as forests, deserts, jungles, and mountains in search of rare loot currency. Using your collected blocks, craft new tools and building blocks to create an awesome world. Design a platforming adventure, employing traps, puzzles, and unique blocks to pose a challenge to other players. Set up shop and sell collected items for in-game currency. And use your profits to buy new blocks, cosmetic items, and tools to fashion a world using your imagination.

Cubic Castle Key Features:

  • Create A 3D platformer - using in-game tools, create a world that’s like a platformer level, filled with portals, prize machines, boost rings, and jumps.
  • Cross Platform - play the game on Android and iOS, picking up where you left off from one device to the next.
  • Explore Intricate Worlds - the universe of Cubic Castles is full of unique, enticing worlds, from challenging puzzles to replicas of iconic places like Jurassic Park, all built by players.
  • Simple harvesting - collecting resources is as easy as point-and-click.
  • Free building - construct any structure you can imagine, so long as they're made of blocks, with no restrictions to stop you.

Cubic Castles Screenshots

Cubic Castles Featured Video

Full Review

Cubic Castles Review

By, Sean Sullivan

I didn’t know what to expect from Cubic Castles. Looking at the game’s poster image on Steam, my first thought was, “a multiplayer Fez… without Phil Fish, and crossed with Katamari Damacy? This might work.” It’s a game that takes other voxel crafting experiences (i.e. Minecraft) and filters them through a Saturday morning cartoon strainer. It does infuse its own spin, by giving players the tools to turn their world into a platformer paradise. But with a camera angle that’s more Bubsy 3D than Crash Bandicoot, running and jumping your way to victory, as well as scavenging resources, can be difficult. Is it too much for Cubic Castles to endure in the MMO block-builder arena?

For the Realm[s]

After completing a rudimentary tutorial I was dropped off in an enormous hub world. The continental landscape is littered with Mario castles, volcanoes, Desert Mines, and other distinguished landmarks. Each icon symbolizes a player world, that—for the most part—anyone can join. Starting off your inventory will have a deed, allowing you to place your own world in a predesignated spot. Pressing the ice cube Earth icon in the top-right corner of your screen will bring up the Sky Map, an overview of the enormous number of established realms. By clicking on any one of the castles you can instantly travel to them.

But, navigating the sky map to find a specific realm is like looking for one Waldo at a “Where’s Waldo” convention. You’re forced to drag the sky map around, clustered by player realms and environmental mines so closely knit my eyes strained to differentiate them. Maybe the developers designed the game this way to force you to examine all of the world's closely like an “I Spy” book. But for impatient players, a simple tool to omit player housing would have made life easier, and alleviated an aneurism-inducing level of frustration. Your own realm doesn’t stand out on the map, making it excruciatingly easy to lose yourself in the assembly.

Mission Cube

As soon as you land on realm map you’re tasked with two quests. I decided to start with them to gain some experience with Cubic Castles' daunting world. I went to click on the sky map to show me an overview of the world but the icon refused to respond. And it wasn't the first time I had trouble with the interface. It’s as if Cubic Castles is giving off a long baby-burp, a hiccup that refuses to work. I only rectified the issue by logging out and back in. Finally finding my quest log by pressing escape I elected to start with a quest titled “Mountain Man,” tasking me with visiting a mountain mine, then an arctic mine, then a desert mine and so on. Simply, by gracing the various biomes with my presence I earned experience. But a buggy UI diminished the reward, making it feel more like I had endured a standardized test than accomplished something.

Ding, Ding, Ding

Finally discovering a tropical realm, with ease, I leveled. The new environments enabled my eyes to evolve into their final form, and awarded me a perk for finally reaching Level 1. With each level you can choose from three perks. Some of them are purely aesthetic, granting you a cosmetic item like a Mad Hatter hat. Others are pragmatic like Carpenter, unlocking new craftable items at the workbench. And then there’s Packrat, increasing your available bag space. I chose Carpenter, electing to pursue high fashion another time. Later levels let you elect to mine faster, or craft new tools. You earn experience for completing quests, mining blocks, crafting, and building—pretty much everything you do will allot some sweet XP. In pursuit of building my own world, eventually, I went mining to gather loot.

Harvesting Blocks

I jumped into a forest mine to gather some resources in the hopes of building my own platform adventure. Clicking on any tile signals your character to pull on the voxel, with all their might, to the sound of stretching an elastic doll too far. With no music to guide you along, the . Lacking music, or simple beats, gathering turned into a drudgery and the stretching noise becomes incessant, to the point of vexation that made me resent installing the game. Of course, you can just turn the SFX off, but I shouldn't want to play in silence. Some players will surely enjoy the cutesy noise, as your character grips voxels with their hands, but it wore me down quick.

As I collected cubes I tried mining deep into the cubed land, and wanted to carve tunnels through mountains, something I’ve always enjoyed while harvesting in other games. I like being able to mold the environment by stripping away its resources. It made gathering in Lego Worlds enjoyable. But the camera angle makes it impossible. Digging a tunnel is stunted because you can only pick blocks to mine that you’re neck-braced omniscience can view, meaning you inevitably pick blocks on the surface level viewing field. The same problem occurs when mining straight into the Earth. Dig too deep and eventually the camera angle is obscured so you can’t view the bottom. I get it. The developers didn't want players tunneling through the limited worlds, but I find it disappointing. And combined with the nagging sound effect, harvesting became a dull drag, only serving the need to craft.

You will have to mine for precious ores regardless if you plan to craft. My recommendation is to patrol the outskirts of a map looking for sure signs of minerals where they can be easily seen, rather than digging in random locations and crossing your fingers to find ore before the effects make you rip your own head off.

Sweating Away Over An Anvil

After traveling through every biome to collect resources I headed back to my own lackluster world to try my luck at crafting. Your world is equipped with a 2x2 anvil, where you can drag and drop resources to try your luck. Or, you can head to the Cubic Learning Center located in the center of Eden to discover all the possible combinations of blocks. But for those of us who refuse to write formulas down, there’s Wiki. I can’t help but feel that the developers could have just given players a formula sheet through the UI.

Navigating crafting is confusing and arduous. With no guidance as to what can be built your left playing the guessing game, and it feels like a waste of time. Without the Wiki I would have given up immediately. Perhaps it's for the sake of discovery that combinations are left to the void. But, just to build a stone hammer requires diving into three other material builds, a chain of sequences typically reserved for the bathroom key in a JRPG. Now this type of step-by-step crafting game can be done well, such as in Salem. But Cubic Castle’s arduous gathering turns crafting into a chore. I reluctantly headed back to the mines to collect resources to build a Stone Hammer.

World Building

Cubic Castles is the platform's answer to RPG Maker. One of the early quests, titled “Perks for Parkour,” shows off the games promise for platformer level creation. And some players harness their creativity to create spectacular realms. Many of them are on display in the Cubic Town Center, at The Realm Showcase. My favorite world uses music tiles in a tower defense labyrinth, to play the piano notes to “That Was Demons” by Imagine Dragons. While crude, jumping from one tile to the next did form a mimesis of the song, and I was struck with awe at the amount of effort taken to create the world. I’m waiting for someone to create Etude Opis 25 by Chopin.

Other worlds function like mini-quests combined with platformer challenges. Using environmental blocks like trees and water, players create labyrinthian puzzles blocked off by password-locked gates, to be solved before moving forward. They're all neat and it’s clear that players dedicated a novelette worth of time in crafting their world. But, oftentimes the game’s static camera angle prevents fully appreciating the mini-adventures as environmental objects, like trees, obscure your avatar and possible movement tiles. Still, Cubic Castles' wide assortment of blocks, tools, and traps makes for an unlimited number of possible ways to create a world. Some are merely decorative, like one grandiose Jurassic Park recreation. Yet, others function only as store fronts.

Block-onomics

While being able to build mini-platformer puzzles seems like it would be the biggest draw to the game, it takes a backseat to Cubic Castles' economy. Nearly every random player realm I traveled to functioned as a shop of one sort or another, players hustling their goods like a Bangladesh market. Everyone wants cubits, the in-game currency, to purchase new goods from the Cubit store. You can find cubits while tearing up biomes, but it’s mind-numbingly slow and far easier to sell goods. Cubits translate into blocks, rooms, items, and deeds.

My pitiful 20 cubits wasn’t buying anything in the game’s store. I could have bought 500 cubits for $0.99 or 20,000 cubits—but the lousy interface prevented me from seeing how much it cost. Nearly every block and item in the game is accessible through the store. And while far from pay-to-win, if you want to create anything novel, you’ll need to scavenge the Cubic Store like a hipster in an antique shop. So, Cubic Castles teaches you the entrepreneurial spirit of capitalism, as you collect goods to be sold and exchanged for Critter Suits and Nuke blocks.

Final Verdict - Good

Cubic Castles offers enough novelty to provide a rewarding experience that younger players in particular will find enjoyable. It’s tools give resources to create truly unique and engaging worlds. It’s a simple game that I suspect was designed with tablets and mobile from the beginning. The awful camera angle and nauseating gathering prevents Cubic Castles from sitting in my Steam library like a stuffed animal. But the cutesy aesthetics and simple game play will appeal to younger fans of voxel-builders, and likely provide hours—days, months, years, epochs—of enjoyment.

Screenshots

Cubic Castles Screenshots

Videos

Cubic Castles Videos

System Requirements

Cubic Castles System Requirements

Minimum Requirements:

Operating System: Windows 7
CPU: Core 2 Duo or higher. Athlon 64 or higher
Video Card: 1024x768, DirectX 10
RAM: 4 GB
Hard Disk Space: 50 MB

Android: Version 4.0 or higher
iOS: Version 7.0 or higher

Cubic Castles is available for both Android and iOS.

Music

Cubic Castles Music & Soundtrack

Coming Soon!

Additional Info

Cubic Castles Additional Information

Developer(s): Cosmic Cow LLC

Game Engine: C/C++

iOS Release Date: August 07, 2014
Android Release Date: August 07, 2014

Steam Greenlight Posting: May 28, 2014
Steam Greenlit: August 01, 2014

Windows Open Beta: May 30, 2014
Release Date: August 13, 2014
Steam Release: Date: August 13, 2014

Development History / Background:

Cubic Castles was developed by California based company Cosmic Cow LLC. Cubic Castles is the only game developed by Cosmic Cow Games. The game was posted to Steam Greenlight on May 28, 2014 and was greenlit on August 1, 2014. Open Beta began on May 30, 2014. Cubic Castles was released for Android and iOS on August 07, 2014, and later for PC on August 13, 2014.