Bound across the world spreading color, creating life, tearing brains asunder and meeting interesting geometry. Slowly begin to doubt that you are playing correctly. Slowly begin to doubt that life is even able to be lived correctly. And come to a terrifying conclusion.
User reviews: Mixed (93 reviews)
Release Date: Feb 14, 2014
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Buy Cube & Star: An Arbitrary Love


Recommended By Curators

"I still do not know why I adore the aimlessness of Cube & Star (2014) as much as I do, but I do."
Read the full review here.


“Cube and Star: An Arbitrary Love is one of those indie games that make us remember why indie games are so important.”
Hooked Gamers

“Cube & Star: An Arbitrary Love is a strange entity, but it makes a compelling case for games as high-art.”
Critical Indie Gamer

“Cube & Star: An Arbitrary love is a wonderful weird little game ... There's some magic here.”
Rami Ismail

Cube & Star: Warped Perspectives

"This is like the ultimate mind-f**k experience" - Robin E: The Gaming Ground.

Taking our cue from Robin E's vivid description, Cube & Star: An Arbitrary Love is now warped (hyperbolically) beyond reason and logic.

Select the lens through which you view this bizarre, colorful little world: Opt for the world-stretching Spindle view, the comforting and classic Perspective view, or the sociopath's delight: Data view.

Because truth isn't tied to reality, it is tied to the perspective through which we view it.

About This Game

"Spread color. Spread joy. Thrill to the emergence of strange new creatures. And burn them all to ashes."

Cube & Star: An Arbitrary Love is a surreal open-world exploration game about the creation of life, joy and the pointlessness of existence.

Eat fruit, nudge trees, stain the ground and thrill to the emergence of strange and vapid creatures in your fool's errand to reunite the Ancient Cube and Star.

Day breaks, grass grows, night falls, stars fall from the sky, trees shed their fruit...

And across the world other cubes like yourself are bounding around, each with their own tiny opinions to impart to you... if you have the patience to listen.

As the grey world comes to life - secrets emerge from the ground: discover ancient relics, bizarre monetary tokens and personal journal entries left by cubes long gone.

Fill your void with knowledge, flood the world with color, burn the world to ashes - and watch as an ancient entity is reborn.

And relax....

  • DRM-free!
  • Explore an ever-changing, ever-bizarre world.
  • Night falls, day rises, grass grows, and the world becomes slick with rain.
  • Seek out the lost voices of the Tiny Things, unearth relics, pointlessly accumulate currency.
  • Decrypt the bizarre language of the Tiny Things.
  • Resurrect long-dead creatures.
  • Flood the world with color.... and drown the world in fire.
  • Raise strange new structures and bear witness as their occupants continue their grim calling

System Requirements

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS: Windows 7
    • Processor: 1GHz
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • DirectX: Version 7.0
    • Hard Drive: 200 MB available space
    • OS: OSX 10.5
    • Processor: 1GHz
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Hard Drive: 400 MB available space
    • OS: Linux Mint. Or equivalent. You know how it is with Linux.
    • Processor: 1GHz
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Hard Drive: 400 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: Oh man. I don't know. Linux covers a broad area.
Helpful customer reviews
6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
25.8 hrs on record
Posted: March 24
Visuals and Graphics: 7/10
Gameplay Mechanics: 2/10
Overall score: 4/10; TLDR

I did not buy this in a bundle. I bought it solo on IndieGameStand for $1 because it looked great.
This interactive screensaver (**not game) is tolerable for $2-3. $5 is too much

This application is like an alpha concept demo. LIke wandering through a 1st person shooter with no bullets or melee, you get a good sense of feel of the presentation without any game mechanics implemented.

The gameplay is missing. Like a small developer who had a beautiful project envisioned which he never had time to finish. Rather than junk all the work, he/she releases the incomplete alpha app (avoiding the word 'game'). I get it. Developing a game is tough; life moves forward; the author must eat; other priorities overshadow this project. I think it is a beautiful project. Sell the Alpha for $1 maybe and perhaps finish it at a later date.

If the author were to finish the game, I envision a bear eating berries and having a transformative effect on the environment. Or a bee or collection of bees pollinating the neighborhood and effecting change on the makeup of the flora. (The dev is like a bee--he works very hard, and we gamers come expecting delicious honey for next to nothing $$ and do not care whether the worker starves for his hard work. I actually applaud what the author started here.)

However, again, there is NO real game mechanic. I read the reviews that say this app was meant to behave as a tranquil zen sandbox--No, that is a cop-out excuse for a demo released before it had a game built around the concept.

I have extra time on my hands, so I can drop my 12 hours into this game for even Zen foolishness. Most of you cannot--play 15-30 minutes of this, then Uninstall. The app is like painting your house with a trimming brush and full set of watercolors. It takes forever but you end up with a nice kaleidoscope result. That is all that happens.

The app even mocks you with fake/useless collectibles and makes parallel references to the futility of life. Why not take this beautiful app as the pollen/seed spreader and tack on a few simple game mechanics. (ex: Cultivate this red plant in the NE side of the garden. The Blue plants and ladybugs and animals flourish as you succeed.) Something weak and simple but producing/accomplishing a small goal. Rinse and repeat for a few dozen challenges. The sandbox all works mostly the same, but gives some reason to play or some bother to polinate/transfer/spread each plant color.

Instead, there are no instructions--nothing accomplished--All the plants, bushes and trees have their own inherent colors that do not change. Your only action is to paint a hue to the ground/grass beneath them by picking nearby color from a unchangeable plant. As you paint, there are 100 other bugs slowly painting the areas that you have brought to life--so you have no real control of color.

Instead, you paint the world with a tiny trim brush. Do a little--then do a lot until you see that it is not getting any better but the world is incomplete, so one might grind for the futility of a full color completion. The world needs to be 5 to 10 times smaller because it takes too damn long for no better finished result.

Pursuit of Achievements is a silly set of badges in many games. There are a plethora of nonsensical achievements. "Make a swollen and fertile world" 0/50 What?! How would any of this be accomplished? "Sprinkle a modest joy over the world" 0/20. It wants you to cover 20% of the world with Yellow. Over half of the areas are painted by bugs with a semi-permanent color which the player cannot change. So, how would I get 20% of the world yellow? Most of the achievements revolve around a find-a-needle-in-a-haystack subgame. After walking the whole world around and making small interactions--you will quickly accomplish quite a few nonsense achievement. (Bump into 1 beetle.)

The only controls are WASD (configurable + controller) Remember I have the luxury of doing nothing but wander for hours WASD, redipping the paintbrush every few feet, After revealing color to the world 6 hours later, I was about to uninstall the app. 4 of the needles-needles-in-the-haystack are colored runes that go into the useless stacks of Zen sayings, Zen history, Zen coins, Zen jewels, Zen artifacts. All useless.

SPOILER ALERT that should have been put in the nonexistant instructions/tutorial:
6 hours done, ready to uninstall, it turns out, that if you click the 4 Runes while standing still 6 times, your paintbrush will drop a few paintballs which will bounce around and change a small to medium area around you. It is random--so you have a new tool which just introduces more randomness into the world. Not a means to guide the color development. Now there is a population of little people that walk around with their paintbrushes too. So, instead of competing with the 300 bugs, you now also compete with 100s of "LittleThings" that also shift the colors of the environment. No control. Just beautiful paints wandering the canvas--with your tiny ability to shift the localized colors a bit. The rest of the world shifts as it wants.

Keep doing that for hours instead crafting the look of the gardens, or making honey, or scaring a competing hive out of the neighborhood, or stinging the brutish humans who trample the gardens. All of these mechanics are missing.

Beautiful interactive screensaver game though. 4/10.
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5 of 7 people (71%) found this review helpful
2.8 hrs on record
Posted: December 17, 2014
I never felt so weird for playing a game as I did while playing it.

I feel clueless and at the same time, thoughtful about this game.
It's a good game anyways, although rarely someone will notice it.
I got pretty bored and interested, how can it be?
I have no idea. Well, if you dont mind playing boring games, buy it.
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44 of 56 people (79%) found this review helpful
4.4 hrs on record
Posted: February 16, 2014
I have no idea what I'm doing, but I sure am enjoying it.
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31 of 36 people (86%) found this review helpful
4.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 21, 2014
Cube & Star is a game I very much wanted to enjoy, but unfortunately, the game doesn't give you enough back to warrant continued play.

You're a cube in a mostly-colorless land. You begin your quest mostly without direction. You interact with other cubes and surface-dwellers. You start to color in the environments. You meet a tiny thing and discover there may be more to them to meet the eye. It all seems like something very clever is beneath the surface, but as the hours went by, I couldn't find it. Like the other reviews say, achievements are broken. Even after you decode the language of the tiny things, not much is revealed other than cryptic laments.

As you collect currency and stars and such relics, you eventually feel the grind and pointlessness of your quest. You can spend hours coloring in the world...but when you figure out how to open the map and figure out how the big world release you could easily spend another large quantity of hours filling in all the empty spaces. And for what? The tediousness of my journey weighs heavily on my cube-like shoulders, and it is with much regret that I finally ceased to roll across the plains.

Cube and Star feels like it aspires to something great but then maddeningly keeps it forever out of reach of the player.
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34 of 42 people (81%) found this review helpful
2.3 hrs on record
Posted: February 14, 2014
I adore this game and I can hardly explain why; the color, music, and totally minimalist gameplay create an experience can perhaps only be described as 'fun', pure, simple 'fun' untethered by our expectations of a plot or any discernable end goal.

At its current (sale) price you'll more than get your money's worth from simply trying to decode messages.

Confused you? I'm confused myself. All I know is I'm having fun.
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23 of 29 people (79%) found this review helpful
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: February 15, 2014
I, like many others here, can't help but be strangely compelled to play. Instead of just leaving it at that though, I'll try to put what I feel in words. This game seems like it was developed to be the ulitmate abstract expression of both the 90's "collect-a-thon" platformers and the modern open-world "sandbox" games. It's minimalistic aesthetic serves well the feeling of exploration and the occasional bits of story you recieve from journal pieces and conversations are tantalizing enough to entice you to find them all and piece together the entirety of the narrative.

While the gameplay so far has never diversed from "roll around, color, collect, talk" I don't think it needs to, it's a testament to the philosophy that simplicity is key and sometimes overthought in the game design process isn't required. In addition to the of the world beng a clever mechanic, it also lends a hand to the relaxing nature of the game and imparts a sense of ownership as no two worlds will be the same and you can feel proud of your coloring as you traverse your world.

There really isn't much negative to say about the game, but one should be informed the game has no save mechanic. This is by design and I really don't think it needs to have saving, but definitely make sure to make time for this game because all of your work will be lost upon closing. (edit: ive been informed this is no longer the case and the game saves on exit. YAY!)

That's really all I have to say about Cube & Star: An Arbitrary Love. I don't think this will win over some gamers but I would encourage everyone to at least try it. What's here is something that to the best of my knowledge hasn't been done before, and the results come together in a delightful and fascinating way.
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42 of 67 people (63%) found this review helpful
8.4 hrs on record
Posted: February 19, 2014
Today is 2014.Feb.19. At the time of this review, the game came out five days ago.

Firstly, this game needs a patch. Secondly, if you read the other reviews you'll notice that they all talk about how colorful and/or pretty the game is. Yes... this game is both colorful and pretty. But that's it.

The game offers nothing in the way of plot, gives you no motivation to explore other than to complete your map, and has very little in the way of interaction between you and the environment.

There is no options menu, the game forgets your music settings and always launches with music "on", I found three different bugs, experienced one crash, and most importantly lost some of my interface because I can't change the graphics settings (because there ARE NO GRAPHICS SETTINGS) and the HUD icons fall off the right side of my screen.

The three bugs I found were a missing "congratulations panel" when you find all the lore icons, I went invisible while "talking" with one of the NPC critters, and I have found several dozen "invisible trees" where they are there but not displayed.

The cryptography puzzle was laughably easy and solved in under four minutes.

This game's fatal flaw: filling in 100% of the map is almost impossible because the creatures that paint the world in their own right don't count toward your "fill" percentage and yet they have painted the tile so you can't visually tell which tiles you have missed. I got to 91.30% map completion in six hours and getting the last 8.7% is not going to happen because I'm done with this game.
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10 of 14 people (71%) found this review helpful
2.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 18, 2014
Like Noby Noby Boy and Mountain, this is a toy more than a game. It's a constantly changing environment to interact with, where your cube bumps into stranger and stranger things as you explore the world further. You can influence the world in various ways, but it's a subtle, slow influence, especially compared to the industrious gardening of the game's other characters. So it's a zen game, something to switch off and relax with, an antidote to hours of SpaceChem brainburn. On another level, it's also a commentary on the psychology of achievements. Why collect coins that can never be spent? In a game about spreading colour and life, does it make sense to burn and kill things to unlock one achievement among a hundred?

I think this is going to to have limited appeal. In particular, if you absolutely need action, or character progression, or puzzles, or a story -- any of the things that constitute a game -- then look elsewhere. But in its best moments, Cube & Star goes beyond all that to capture the feeling of ambling along the shore, picking up shells and bits of wrack.
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14 of 22 people (64%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 9, 2014
I'm not sure if I am having fun...
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8 of 11 people (73%) found this review helpful
7.3 hrs on record
Posted: April 25, 2014
Starts off as interesting and relaxing but quickly becomes tedious after a while of playing. I think the game doesn't want you to play it, though. So the developer accomplished that much at the very least! I really did enjoy this for a while, but the fact that most of the achievements are broken as well as a lot of them being largely about wasting time (good luck with the 1 million stars achievement, seriously...) and I get the feeling that this game could've been better with a more interesting execution. There's some neat ideas here but ultimately it ends up simply not being too much fun for more than an hour or two.
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.4 hrs on record
Posted: October 14, 2014
Completely fell in love with the game, haven't colleccted everything yet, still working on colouring it, but I really wanna know what happens at the end?! Completely addictive, 9/10
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7 of 10 people (70%) found this review helpful
64.3 hrs on record
Posted: June 23, 2014
Fun simple game. It's minimalistic but enjoyably so; you can color the world in rainbows or destroy it with the agony of fire. Raise hundreds of "tiny things" or leave them extinct, Super simple game play, feels monotanous at first but that quickly leaves and is replaced by the satisfaction of a colorful musical sandbox world from the perspective of a cube traveling across the land. At this sale price right now, definitely worth a try.
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7 of 10 people (70%) found this review helpful
6.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 30, 2014
While somewhat interesting in concept, I can't really recommend this game, as it essentially lacks much of anything of interest to actually *DO*. You start play plunked down on a gray world full of trees, and are functionally tasked with making it a colorful world by bumping colored trees, rolling over their colorful fruits, and then spreading that color to other trees. Your color fades to gray after a dozen or so moves, so you have to bump another tree. Rinse and repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat for hours on end...

As you roll around, you collect random collectables that you collect because you get an achievement for collecting them all. (Unless they disappear because some random critter activated the object outside your sight range, and then you can never collect 100%.)

The game world is huge, which is something of a negative, because, with gameplay from start to finish basically consisting of just bumping trees and spreading color, I ran out of interest in the game before I could cover the world in color or get any of my completion. There's a "mystery" to uncover by collecting journal bits, but it just doesn't have enough suspense or reason for players to care to carry the player to the finish line. Unlike a lot of other reviewers, I actually managed to decypher the language... and was not particularly impressed by the results. It's a simple symbol-to-letter cypher that is made even easier with each line starting with Roman Numerals, but the need to click through each symbol is *HIGHLY* tedious, yet served as a distraction from a tedious game... No wonder so many people quit with lower hours played than I have.

I hit a crash bug, and didn't have the will to see if or how much I'd lost in game progress, because it all felt like a waste to me to try to complete painting this world.
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10 of 16 people (63%) found this review helpful
2.1 hrs on record
Posted: February 15, 2014
Not really sure what to say about this game if we can name it like that, i`m confused like most of people talkin about this game. This game is just weird, but keep me playing for some strange reason. You should try if are able to get it cheap, but only if you like weird games, or at least dont mind :)
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5 of 7 people (71%) found this review helpful
0.6 hrs on record
Posted: May 13, 2014
Next up today was "Cube & Star" (Doppler Interactive). I rolled a cube around a geometric environment, collecting objects of unknown purpose, and reading cryptic messages. I supposed I would have had to play the game longer for its purpose/goals to reveal themselves, but the gameplay itself was tedious, and the music was extremely repetitive and quickly got on my nerves.

For a game that doesn't explain itself from the onset, it would need to have much more engaging mechanics to hold my attention long enough for me to come to an understanding of what I'm supposed to be doing (a game like Starseed Pilgrim comes to mind, which I played for about two hours before I even began to have the foggiest idea of what I was supposed to be doing—but it was a fun and engaging two hours of cluelessness).

Maybe Cube & Star this is a life–changing game that I'll never experience because I lacked the patience, but there's also an opportunity cost to that sort of hopefulness…
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6 of 9 people (67%) found this review helpful
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: September 16, 2014
This game is quite dissapointing, reading the description and looking at the gameplay video it looks quite entertaining and it is... for the first 20 or so minutes, almost two hours in and I already feel the maddening grind.

I'm not even near 100% yet, the map is mostly grey stil, I'm confused. I don't know what I'm supposed to do, what's expected of me, where I should go or what I'm even doing.
I took a stab at decoding the tiny things language, that didn't help at all, I was still just as confused.

I'm sure this game gets good at some point but I just don't have the attention span to get there, and with great regret I have to put yet another title on my list of games I never completed.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
9.4 hrs on record
Posted: June 19, 2014
Cube & Star is, if nothing else, an interesting time-waster. You roam the world spreading color, reuniting a long separated pair, and murdering "tiny things". It's addicting for those who love to get all achievements in game, from spreading certain colors to becoming a reaper of the tiny things (inhabitants of this world), there are quite a few goals to achieve. I would recommend a play-through for anyone who is a completionist as well as anyone who just likes to try random different things. :D
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
17.0 hrs on record
Posted: March 19, 2014
I want to emphasize that the game says "arbitrary" in its title. Is it a little slow? Yes. Does it baby the players with a tutorial at the beginning and leaves figuring out the nuances of the game almost exclusively to the player's curiosity? For sure. But that's part of the joy--a randomness that's difficult to pin down to a pattern.

Cube&Star is colorful, minimalistic, smart, darkly and subtly funny (the Nietzchean quips from the various geometric creatures make me alternate between wanting to laugh or cry), and aesthetically exquisite. It wasn't hard to fall for the simplicity of this game, and I more than appreciate how relaxed I can feel playing it without it being totally mind-numbing.

It's casual but quietly rewarding, and well worth it. I recommend it wholeheartedly to both the whimsical and patient player looking for something a little different, if not Euclidean.
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
1.1 hrs on record
Posted: May 3, 2014
The worst part about this game is that it has a lot of potential but doesn't live up to it. You start out knowing nothing. It tells you to move with the arrow keys and that's it. Awesome! So I go exploring and see little foreign cubes and pyramids and wormy things. Awesome! I approach one and see four little stats or something appear above it, with little symbols by each stats. I don't know what those mean, but great! More mystery! Some of the little cubes speak a different language. I find out I can collect little foreign sentences, which will help me decode the language. Great concept! I wanted to find all the sentences!

But then I found a coin. Great! What's this do? I see a menu appear on the right of the screen. 1/100 next to a coin picture... Oh. Well. That's a lot of coins. What do they do? Then I find a relic. 1/250 or some high number like that. What?? A gem: 1/75. What is this? I don't care about any of that. But that's the majority of the game. Explore new areas (they all look the same: grey until you get there and add color) and collect useless stuff. I never could understand the foreign cubes (the translation tool was crap; a programmer needs to sit down for a week and make the interface more usable). I never figured out what the stats were all about. And how could I with all the fluff in between me and the riddles' answers?
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4 of 6 people (67%) found this review helpful
1.4 hrs on record
Posted: May 23, 2014
Cube & Star is supposed to be an "art game". Now, if you 're familair with my tastes in games, you know it's a genre I appreciate: I can't sing enough praises for "Papers, Please", and I really liked "Flowers", for example.

Cube & Star is nothing like those. It's a pretentious mess that mistakes random word juxtaposition for poetry. You're a cube and your goal is to... what? color the world? collect useless junk? It's never quite clear. The only marks of your progress are the collectibles you gather. These show up every x steps. With x being random. And they're usually made of 2-3 polygons and have fancy names that mean nothing.

There are no lethal enemy, no interesting sightseeing (past the first 2 minutes). You can bump into other cubes or animals and A random, meaningless sentence will pop-up (and will take painfully long to fade out) before you'll continue your travels.

After what seemed like an endlessly long time, a new power showed up, seemingly at random, that allowed me to burn a bit of my surroundings. What purpose does it serve? Probably none.

I suppose you begin to see a pattern: there's nothing that makes sense, there is no challenge, no reward, no loving craft that was used to shape the world. It's all an empty, meaningless random experience.

Playing Cube&Stars would be like playing Diablo if Diablo had no enemies, was painted with pastel colors instead of grey and brown, and if Blizzard's title used a tileset that had just 10 element for generating levels.

Stay clear of this one. It's not worth its cheap price, let alone your time.
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