Cubesis must be one of the hardest games I ever had to review. Not hard as in ‘difficult’, but it’s very difficult to explain in just a couple of sentences. But, I hope I can sum it up with just one word: balance. It’s all about balancing the world of your Cubies (the inhabitants) in order to complete the required objectives. And even though I said it isn’t difficult, it actually is. It requires patience and a clear mind. I had to retry the first level several times because I didn’t understand how to properly solve it. Yeah, the very first level. And yes, I did follow the (quite extensive) tutorial. I can hear you laughing already, but honestly I don’t mind. I had fun replaying the same level over and over again. A good sign if you ask me.
As I said this game is all about balance. You’ll have to balance the weather while completing the objectives and without letting your Cubies die. Make it too hot and they’ll eventually die from dehydration and/or the heat (but only if they’re outside in the open). You also can’t create any more grain fields because the sun will have burnt it all away. But, you can move across fields that were previously under water. And if you make it too cold your people will freeze to death. You also won’t be able to grow grain because the ground is rock solid. But, they will be able to easily cross rivers (except for ships, of course). These are just a few examples, by the way; there are tons of things that can go wrong. You have to carefully find the right balance by using a mix of menhirs and churches.
Also, your objectives will range from finding treasures and earning x amount of money to having x amount of an item (like grain) and having a specific number of Cubies.
Failing missions is just a matter of 'when' really. It’s inevitable I think, unless you make it your life’s work to understand the game’s mechanics in and out. But replaying missions isn’t all that bad. Don’t get me wrong; it can definitely get tiresome because the results aren’t always noticeable right away. This is because the game is played in turns. It usually takes a few clicks before you (think you) see something happening and by then it might already be too late. This will sometimes feel unfair and if you don’t have enough patience you should just stay away from this game altogether.
Cubesis uses pixel art for its visuals and it looks good. In a window, that is. Full screen mode makes both the text and graphics become blurry. This is because the game was made with lower resolutions in mind. I know that the developer is currently trying to manipulate the game so that it looks a bit sharper and clearer, so it might eventually look good anyway. For now it is recommended to run this in a window.
The music is beautiful and fits the godlike nature of the game. It’s rather calming. Your Cubies also have little sound bites that are mostly gibberish, but the sounds they make instantly let you know what’s going on. So a ‘nu-uh’, for example, means that you can’t build there. It’s a good system for when you have to micromanage a lot later on.
The game is also long. Missions can take anywhere between 15 minutes and 30 minutes, and even longer I think in some of the later levels. The campaign has 13 levels, but after that there’s apparently a second campaign with an even higher difficulty. So completing this game might take you a long, long time. It’s definitely money well spent.
Cubesis is difficult to learn and difficult to master. It’s for people that like a challenge and/or have enough patience. It’s not the prettiest game out there, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s deeper than many other games I’ve seen and played. And it feels good and rewarding knowing that you managed to complete a level by juggling with the elements of nature. So, I want to recommend this to all puzzle and (turn-based) strategy gamers who like a good challenge.