Survive! Mr. Cube, from Intragames, is a top-down action game that has been labelled as a ‘roguelike’ experience. However, due to the difficulty of the game and the lack of certain elements, I refuse to refer to it as a ‘roguelike’ as it doesn’t bring with it the challenge and skill-building which you would expect. That being said, the game is entertaining and fun to play, it just has a few flaws which you must be fine with before you decide to purchase and play this incredibly easy platinum trophy game.
Survive! Mr. Cube stars a young fellow called Mr Kobe, a salesman who is due to be married to his sweetheart very shortly. One day, Mr. Kobe was approached by a mysterious hooded figure who appeared out of nowhere, they offered him a magical pill. Mr. Kobe, who isn’t the smartest guy in the world, reached out and grabbed the pill before throwing it down the back of his throat and proceeding to swallow it. Upon awakening, he finds himself trapped in another dimension, one which has altered his form to that of a cuboid protagonist. See children, this is why we don’t take drugs off strangers…
Mr Kobe, or Mr. Cube now, must fight their way through various areas within various worlds as they search for the way home. Along the way, you will face off against small enemies, medium and more brutal enemies, and big boss battles which will get pretty intense. There are ‘some’ roguelike elements in play, but not enough to call it one if I’m being honest, as you’ll most likely obtain all the trophies within one or two playthroughs – which is either a good or a bad thing. Let’s take a look at this in more detail…
The controls are nice and simple and also very responsive, my only complaint possibly being the way you attack. The game’s controls are like a twin-stick shooter in that you attack by pushing the right stick in the direction of the enemy. This is fine when you have a weapon like a magical staff that shoots our fireballs or a sword that has a large area of effect, but when you have a spear that you thrust forward it can get a little hard to aim accurately. Other than picking items up, that’s about all there is to the controls. So, let’s look at the core mechanics and see how it matches up to a Roguelike game:
Your character is randomly chosen for you upon death and resurrection. Each character has their own stats and starts off with their own initial weapon (more can be picked up in-game). This is similar to roguelike games but the difference between characters isn’t a much as you would hope. Whereas in games like Rogue Legacy, where the character you get has different traits like being blind, fast, small, upside down etc… in Survive! Mr. Cube it’s purely a statistical bonus with a new skin upon your character. Saying that, I did enjoy the skins I was given during my playthrough and the loading screens do have some humorous takes on famous costumes like the Captin America one.
Live. Die. Repeat.
Survive! Mr. Cube does get one of the roguelike elements spot-on, you have one life (which initially is very short) and you are returned to the initial portal upon death, which is where you get a new skin to play with. You keep any gold you obtained on your previous run and you can use it to purchase things from the hooded figure. However, the things you buy are random and cost 2x the previous. So, 100, then 200, then 400 etc… I found that most of the things you bought were simple health potions, which aren’t worth 100 coins if I’m being honest. You can also dig up the grave of the previous guy who died and you receive a random bonus – one which I think is based on what you earnt in your last run, such as extra health or stamina, but I could be wrong on that.
Where am I?
Upon death and re-entering the portal, you will notice that everything is different. Well, it’s the same textures, enemies, and bosses, but the placements of everything has been randomly shifted. However, it may be hard to notice at first as the game utilises a heavy fog-of-war effect which limits Mr. Cube’s view as he walks around the environment. However, unlike fog-of-war, once you have walked into an area and removed the fog by walking around, you can forever see that area on your map as the fog doesn’t come back during this run. I feel the randomness will help to replayability but I only had to play the game twice in order to achieve the platinum, which leads me onto…
The Dark Souls of…
Survive! Mr. Cube isn’t a hard game, it’s mechanically easy and the platinum is very, very easy to obtain within an hour or 2 with natural play. Now, let’s take a look at a roguelike game. They are usually rock hard with you dying over and over again. They require you to do a run as you collect money, then use the money to upgrade stats or items upon death, then you take another stab at it as you get a little bit further each time. The whole premise of a roguelike is that the game should be frustrating and a pain in the arse to play through, yet offer you enough possibilities to upgrade yourself as you proceed to try again. Survive! Mr Cube lacks in this area in my opinion. Other than the ability to purchase potions which are easy to find in-game, and the different initial weapon, the second run is based on luck just as much as the first run. I obtained the platinum within two hours with the only trophy I had to ‘grind’ for was the “die five times” trophy. That’s right – the one trophy I would usually get first was the last one I obtained, and I had to purposely kill myself twice to get it.
Okay, so I’ve compared Survive! Mr. Cube to other roguelikes and pointed out its differences, but what if the game wasn’t created to be a hard-core roguelike game? What if it’s overall design was for the more casual player who wants the sense of progression without the need to start from nothing every time? If you look at it from that angle then Survive! Mr. Cube isn’t that bad. Literally, anyone can play it due to its simple nature, you can get quite far after you have played it a couple of times and got used to the mechanics, fighting the big bosses unlocks new enemies to kill and areas to venture through, and it’s easy to pick up and play in both short bursts and long sessions.
The platinum trophy which I obtained when I defeated the first boss and just started the second ‘world’ doesn’t require you to ‘finish’ the game as such in order to obtain. This game is one of the few out there which seems like it’s built for you to play and have fun with, and not just fixate yourself on the trophies it has. If you are fixated on them then yeah, it has about six stacks in different regions, all with their own platinum trophy which can be earnt in about 1-2 hours. But if you don’t care about them then you are bound to get them all throughout your playthroughs and the game is enjoyable enough to play without caring about them. I literally never even looked at the trophy list until I died in the second world and wanted to see what I hadn’t obtained as I’d seen trophies pop up all over the place whilst playing.
As you can see from the images, Survive! Mr. Cube is nothing special but it isn’t unpleasant either. The cuboid characters are cute, the lighting effects are decent and the enemies are varied in design. We also have some nicely drawn cut-scenes that picture our protagonist and the hooded figure in their realistic form, rather than their Minecraft skin. Soundwise, nothing to complain about here as the music is quite simple in places yet really kicks in when you’re up against the epic bosses. There is a lot about this game that can be described as ‘simple’, but sometimes the simple things are the more fun.
So, how do I feel after playing Survive! Mr. Cube? I enjoyed playing it if I’m being honest. Just like Tokyo Tattoo Girls, a lot of your success will come down to random factors which are out of your control. For example, on my second run through I managed to kill an enemy and pick up his wand which fires white projectiles at enemies, killing them in one hit. Then I also found a gold laser-shooting weapon which was even more powerful. This run took me about 12-15 ‘tree-portals/areas’ before I found the doorway to the boss of that level, but along the way, I found tonnes of gold and potions, so the boss was really easy for me. It reminds me of the Binding of Issac, in that game I kept dying until one day I had the perfect run with pickups that made me a god! It’s all down to luck at the end of the day. Just be aware that the game isn’t a hard-core roguelike, it’s more a casual take on one.
Survive! Mr. Cube is a casual roguelike game with its emphasis on combat being more than its overall story. Don’t go into the game expecting it to be a brutal game that will take you many hours to platinum and keep you trying over and over until you reach the final boss. The game is more for those who like the idea of a roguelike but would rather stay alive longer and get the sense of progression within their current playthrough and not the next. That being said, when you do inevitably die, you are given a new character and weapon and sent out into the world to fight once more. The game is charming and I had a lot of fun playing through it.
Trophy hunters will love the game as it’s an easy platinum, casual gamers will like it as it offers a fair challenge that anyone can enjoy, and roguelike fans will possibly like it as an easier version of a genre they enjoy. Either way, it’s fun to play and different every time.
Survive! Mr. Cube£9.99
- Random character and weapon upon death keeps the game fresh
- Gradually getting harder enemies and environments
- The music is solid
- Decent variety of enemies on each world
- The difficulty does spike in some areas without warning (which could be a good thing)
- Overall, it's a lot easier than your standard roguelike game
- A lot of the weapons are pretty useless against decent enemies