Survive! Mr. Cube is an indie, rogue-lite, action game. At first look, Survive! Mr. Cube might look like a cuter version of Minecraft. To me, it’s the Dark Soul of block-style game: unforgiving, relentless, and a bit aggressive.
The basis for Survive! Mr. Cube is survive, fight, and escape with its life. If Mr. Cube didn’t survive, a different version of Mr. Cube from a parallel dimension will takes its place, losing all the progress of the previous Mr. Cube (the game does have the auto-save feature although they unintentionally left it out), and get sent back to the very beginning.
The plot is quite simple. We meet Mr. Cube and learns he has a wife at home. But Mr. Cube is forcibly teleported away and sent to an unfamiliar dimension. Mr. Cube needs to fight for his life and find a way out to return to his home dimension.
One of the endearing features is finding which Mr. Cube I would get. So far, I’ve met at least 25 different version of Mr. Cube and have yet to meet one twice. In my perspective, they are basically the better looking and cuter versions of Minecraft blocky characters. The game generates a wide range of different Mr. Cube at random each time he is brought back.
Each Mr. Cube has their own unique design, class job, stats, weapons, ability, and flaws. Some of them are based of classic role-playing job class, of animals, and of real-life pop culture figures, like a LEGO character and a recognizable super hero. Personally, the many versions of Mr. Cube can get quite amusing.
The game prioritize gameplay over story. Although, gameplay is as simple as the storyline. To attack the enemies, you have to toggle the right analog stick which can be very awkward at times, and the weapons dictate how much stamina is used. This is the first time I played a game, using the right analog stick to attack. Normally, the right analog stick is moving the camera around. It gets confusing at certain moments when I unconsciously want to shift the environment around.
What has me calling Survive! Mr. Cube the “Dark Souls of block-style games” is the agony of losing all of the progress in a single playthrough if Mr. Cube dies a premature death. And, on top of that, you and your new Mr. Cube has to start at the very beginning again, and all your strongest (and favorite) weapons you found disappear for good.
Survive! is comprised of 4 themed areas and each area has 25 stages, connected like a labyrinth. There is no single, straight path to take to the area boss. Some stages can have up to 4 gateways and some can lead to a dead end. No areas uses the same path, thanks to the game’s randomly-generated system. It takes a lot of backtracking and searching to find the correct gates that led to the area boss.
The game relies heavily on random generation. Most of the mechanics are generated at random: Mr. Cubes, item drops, enemies, chests, traps, shop items and areas. You will never know what you will ever get in this game.
One of the glaring flaws that keeps recurring in Survive! is the framerate. It is not a once-in-a-while thing. It happens a lot and at random, ironically, and sometimes be distracting during the fights.
Visually, Survive! Mr. Cube pays tribute to retro-art styles, using voxel or cubic block, and the backgrounds are nicely rendered. Each area has a theme, however each area uses the same surrounding aesthetics in all of 25 stages. Although there are different layouts randomly generated, the surroundings won’t change until you reach the next area.
There were times where it can feel like it’s dragging and repetitive because of the unchanging surroundings in each area and backtracking to find the final gateway. Nor did constantly dying and returning to the very first area help curb those feelings. Being stuck in one area’s unchanging surroundings can be a total torture.
It was surprising how easy it was to hunt for trophies so quickly. The trophy hunting is just as simple as the game’s plot. I was able to collect all 38 trophies including the platinum in 4 hours and 30 minutes, according to my PSNprofiles. I wasn’t actively hunting trophies. Instead, I was trying to discover all of the different versions of Mr. Cube. It was rather disenchanting that the trophies wasn’t more of a challenge.
Overall, everything in Survive! Mr. Cube is quite simple: plot, gameplay, battle mechanics, and trophies. But it is in the spirit of Dark Souls, torturing both Mr. Cube and the player in its block-styled environment whose only goal is trying to kill Mr. Cube. A single failure can make hours of progress go POOF. At least, a different yet adorable version would take its former place when Mr. Cube dies. If you don’t mind investing in keeping Mr. Cube alive, Mr. Cube might finally return to his home dimension…