Going off the title you’d be forgiven for thinking this was a puzzle game. Mastercube from indie devs Warlock Arts is a shoot ‘em up that is basically an attempt to update the old classic Asteroids. However, in this the Asteroids are shapes, each having their own behavior pattern. Hexagons float aimlessly, Circles will home in on you, Triangles home in and split into three on impact and Spheres that home in when you’re not looking and you have to move out-of-the-way.
There are no power ups to be picked up. Instead you have to reach a certain score (10,000) before your weapons upgrade. You then get double fire, which can become triple fire for a limited time based upon unknown score markers. There are zero options in the main menu nor are there any in-game. For no discernible reason the pause button is the ‘triangle’ button. The sound track you will be playing to is a fun, if slightly repetitive, generic rock tune.
This is a twin stick shooter with bare minimum controls. You will be using the sticks to move, shoot and that’s all. There are highlighted enemy spawns though these can get lost in the confusion. You have no time to respond to one spawning directly on you. Nor do you have a chance against any spawning off-screen suddenly appearing at the edges. So you are forced to play this game in the center of the screen as much as possible. You will then be swarmed without warning pushing you out of the safe zone. This is the standard format of the game and it rinse and repeats throughout.
The gameplay is competent and works well for the most part. However, it can be frustrating when you die to an enemy that spawned off-screen or right under you. What’s even more frustrating is you probably won’t even know you died as the death sequence is brief and really not all that obvious before you respawn where you left off. There is no real communication going on between the game and the player. No updates on score, which is odd since your upgrades are based around it. There is not indicator or notification when you die. In a shoot ‘em up like this you need information fed to you without needing to look.
Overall, yes I’m summarizing already, as there is literally nothing much to this game at all. I would say it’s an absolute barebones shoot ‘em up. Only it’s not got one of the most basic requirements for a space invaders game, a highscore table! There is a very good reason even the oldest shoot ‘em up has a highscore table. This is a huge error as there is literally no point to playing this game without one. I guess you could play for the slapped on thoughtless trophies but it doesn’t change the fact, it fails at bare minimum. With the amount of far superior games like Super Stardust and Resogun on the market I can’t possibly recommend a game that lacks even the basic required components of a standard shoot ‘em up.
Ultimately, this game doesn’t even deserve to be in the Playstation store. At best it’s incomplete and in need of a great deal more work to finish it. As it stands this game really has nothing to offer. No replay value, no options, no creativity, no innovation, lack of enemy types and scaling, no bosses, no further levels and with no highscores, no reason to play the game at all. When a new game falls below the very game it’s attempting to emulate there’s something very wrong. By rights it should surpass it in many areas, yet, Mastercube fails to even get on par. This is a monumental dropping of the ball; even Asteroids had a highscore table.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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