Where better to prove how much of a toughie you are than in the arena? Developed by Tomasz Dziobek of TomiGames and published by Teyon, Cubers: Arena is a top-down hack ‘n’ slash game that pits you, a black sphere with an ugly face, in a coliseum as you battle against waves of enemies. It’s one of those rinse-and-repeat kinds of games, where you’ll be pretty much doing the same thing over and over, albeit with a few minor twists here and there, only to jump back into that seemingly endless grind.
It gets stale pretty quickly, unfortunately. The only real changes are the types and amount of enemies that’ll appear. Some use shields or drop bombs, but even on the normal difficulty, they’ll absorb a fair bit of damage before dying. They’ll often appear in swarms, with their main tactic involving surrounding the player and attacking at once. The layout of each arena that you can fight won’t really change all that much either.
The combat is serviceable but unremarkable.You can button-mash your basic attack and whip out the shield at any given time. Luckily, you’ll have access to up to four special moves at once, most of which are pretty handy, and have a generous cool down rate alongside. Things like projectiles, spin attacks, dashes and healing are but some of the effects you can pull off, and they can be both time and life-savers. Unlocking and purchasing new ones will take a lot of grinding for XP and cash, annoyingly.
You don’t have to grind as much for new equipment and weapons, at least. These offer stat point boosts and the occasional special effect, some of which are really helpful. Plus, completing matches in the arena will award you gems to be slotted onto your gear for even more buffs. Again, these aren’t too difficult to get, and can be pretty handy.
If you get bored of the campaign – trust me, you will – there’s always the bonus modes. Some are available for both single and co-op play, though they’re notably fairer in difficulty when you’re with a buddy. They’re a half-decent distraction for a short while, and are a handy way to earn cash and XP in order to level up, too. Defending the princess from zombies is a bit monotonous, and destroying multi-coloured mushrooms as a specific colour before they overgrow is too difficult when playing solo. However, the survival mode and time attack are pretty frantic. There’s a fair bit of variety to be had in the versus mode, like dodgeball and a whack-a-mole mini-game.
Alas, Cubers: Arena falls flat on its face because its gameplay struggles to prevent itself from growing old and stale after the first few hours, no thanks to the grindy nature of the title, as well as the fairly milquetoast combat and similarly-designed arenas. Even with the effective gear and useful special moves on your side, it’s still not enough. The bonus game modes are a mixed bag, too. Case in point, if you fed this game to the lions of a Roman arena, not even their hunger would be quelled.