CubeSieger by Rozetta is an original abstract game from Japan with enjoyable tactical gameplay and top-notch presentation. Amidst all the clones and hastily-developed titles on the app store, it’s refreshing to see a completely new concept for a game: and doubly so when it’s implemented as well as this.
Played on a 6×6 grid, two players take it in turns to first move their single pawn, then place a colored cube on a space on the board or on top of a previously-placed cube. As the grid starts to fill up, the pawns’ available moves are reduced. Eventually, they will have to ascend on top of the cubes, where they can move to another cube of the same level – but not come back down again.
As another level of cubes begins to build up, the pawns are forced upwards one more time – but that’s it: they can’t ascend any higher, and if a player can no longer move their pawn, they lose.
The game therefore becomes an attempt to outwit your opponent, with a strong tactical element coming into play with each move: do you place your cube to try and force them upwards to their doom; or do you lay them out in a way to make sure you still have somewhere to run to when you’re faced with the same problem?
Games are quick affairs, and the neck-and-neck nature of the gameplay as space begins to run out is challenging and fun.
CubeSeiger is presented excellently, with rotatable 3D graphics allowing you to examine the board from any angle. Graphics are colorful, crisp and clean with a choice of two themes; and the sound and music are cheerful, creating a typically Japanese gaming atmosphere.
Even the menu screens are well-designed, with options being selected by picking up and placing a cube on the relevant square on the game board.
Four levels of difficulty against the AI ensure CubeSieger is a game that grows with you as you get more familiar with its tactics; and multiplayer options include 2 players on the same device; online Game Center play and network play over Bluetooth.
As well as the main game mode, a Challenge mode is offered, consisting of a series of puzzles where you have to work out how to win in a number of scenarios within a certain number of moves.
A Building Block mode is also included, which is a diverting freeplay option allowing you to play with a collection of cubes – including special designs you unlock during the main game. Not quite Minecraft, but entertaining nonetheless.
Chosen in Japan to help demonstrate the iPad’s capabilities, CubeSieger is game which fans of abstract logic games will lap up, and which scores highly due to its original premise and high production values.
[Editor note: There is also a lite version of the game available to download if you’d like to try that first, but it was not the version reviewed and can be expected to have a limited set of features or levels]