This is one of the games that I actually did not buy. To be honest I wouldn’t have bought it based on the trailer. But it landed in my mailbox and the steam page said it got a local multiplayer … so I installed it and put it on my “check out with the nephews” list.
Where it stayed … I have twice as many games installed for that reason than I have actually time to check out. Big mistake – this could have been a ton of fun for us much earlier!
We started playing this in 4 player mode with my nephews, my brother and his wife – and we did not get to play anything else that day! First there is the multiplayer battle that is very fair and balanced yet still allows for enough confusion on the screen to add an element of luck that keeps motivation going for the weaker players.
I consider that in itself a great achievement few titles get to!
The basic game mechanics are super simple – you get to jump around and can send a wave out from your little cube that destroys the other players cubes. If two waves hit it pushes the squares away from each other with serious force.
There are small details like you having a double jump, with the second jump being more powerful, as well as being able to wall jump off of everything.
So in multiplayer you try to destroy your friends and you get a point for each friend you blast into little squares. Blast them fast enough you can even get a multiplier to go up.
No worries – everyone gets back right into the action with a second or so of immortality removing any serious elements of frustration.
I am not sure how, but new game modes got unlocked the longer we played and some were really fun, others were a bit less engaging. A typical example would be capture the flag where each square that manages to stay within a circle area gets the timer to count down and the player that reaches zero first wins.
Fun! Diversity! Winner gets to pick the next mode!
Then we switched to the co-op mode where the goal was to clear each level by having at least one square survive and damn that was fun too! Every couple of levels you even get a boss fight and they are good. The first ones are simple but as you progress we encountered a couple that really put our ability to dodge a bullet hell to the test.
My favorite so far was a version of centipede with an enemy that follows the nearest enemy to the boss spawn point and draws a deadly line on the screen. Then it lays an egg somewhere on the line that needs to be destroyed. With multiple players on the screen it really trains your cooperative skills!
This is an early access title and we discovered some weird behaviors. For example one enemy (centipede) loved to get stuck – but a quick “restart” of the level (0.5s) solved that and it did not turn into a problem, more of a running gag.
The one thing that really bothered my brother was that the lead in multiplayer gets marked with a little white square but the follow up does not get the same mark when a player manages to draw even. Meaning being first to lead can turn into a small disadvantage … good point, but not really a big deal. He is very competitive and doesn’t like to be beaten by an old fart like me, which of course he did in the game that made us notice the “issue”.
Another one was that after each level we did not really get to see who survived and who did not survive … felt like a bug, but I considered it a feature as it did not impact our young nephews motivation.
Long story short … if you like local multiplayer gamepad games it is almost impossible to go wrong with this one! The visuals might make it look like something done without love but once you get to play it you very soon learn it is the opposite as all the time (and it must have been a considerable amount based on content) went into game mechanics instead of visuals.
I’m in love and this might be my new favorite multiplayer game!