Cubixx HD: Side-splitting, screen-splitting madness

October 2, 2011

We’d like to tell you a tale of two games. Both games were created in the ’80s. Both were, in one form or another, ’90s office obsessions, stealing minutes of productivity from computer-users everywhere. One continued its success with multiple popular incarnations on every device imaginable, seeing twists on and ripoffs of the formula. The other faded into relative obscurity.

Cubixx HD comes from an alternate universe in which Qix and Tetris traded places.

The game, for those who haven’t played Qix (or its simpler Windows cousin, JezzBall), has you cutting off portions of an area inhabited by enemies, trying to reach a certain percentage without getting your lines touched by the bad guys. Cubixx‘s twist? It’s a cube instead of a rectangle, naturally.

The game was originally released as a PSP mini, so the core features are familiar. As you progress through the game’s arcade mode, you run into various hazards. Avoiding the enemies on the surface? That’s simple. Avoiding ones that chase you down your line as you cut it, ones that run wildly around the cube’s edges and ones that slow you down to make you vulnerable to the others? Yeah, that’s a bit more complicated.

There are a few different modes, but most simply change the metric by which you are judged. The main game focuses on combos and special achievement-based bonuses. Would you rather judge your performance on time? The best one line? There are options for you, though you need to beat the main mode in five-level increments to play those stages in every other one.

This would be all fine and good, but we haven’t yet talked about the one feature we think is most crucial. Are you ready? Split-screen multiplayer. Okay, we may have forgotten a few words in there, so let’s try again: seven-player split-screen co-op multiplayer. Cubixx tiles three screens across the top half and four across the bottom, and despite most using only an eighth of your TV, it works out to be enough to see what’s going on. You can play the entire arcade mode together, and each number of players has its own leaderboard. Seven players and six sides of a cube? It’s crazy, frantic and exactly as fun as you’d hope.

Can you gather seven people and seven controllers to play a game? If so, Cubixx HD is a must-buy. We understand, though, that many can’t, and the single-player component just doesn’t quite have the same staying power.

Pros: Seven-player split-screen co-op
Cons: Otherwise rather straightforward

Score: 4/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.