iPhone Life magazine

What I Played This Week—Cubemen 2, Solar Walk, Abducted Coming Soon

I have a couple of great apps for review this week and some news about an exciting new 3D action/adventure and puzzle-solving game coming soon, called Abducted.The first app I played this week was Cubemen 2 ($1.99). Cubemen is an engaging real-time strategy and tower-defense game that puts you in command of a squad of blocky soldiers. You can vector them to protect your base, or move them out to attack and destroy the enemy. The second app I played (though "playing" is not really the right word) this week, is the new, improved, and simply astounding Solar Walk ($2.99)! I used it to research earthly and extra-terrestrial satellites and to follow the beautiful and inspiring Cassini mission to Saturn! 

1. Cubemen 2 ($1.99)

Cubemen 2 builds on the original hit app, and in case you don't know from Cubemen, this blocky commando game has been around since last year, with versions for PC and Mac available at other online game stores (like Steam). The app is 158MB in size, so it's a bit chunky for downloading over your cell network—maybe use Wi-Fi instead. The game ran without issue on my iPad mini.

Cubemen is a cross of real-time strategy and tower defense game elements. The graphical representation of the playing field is akin to Minecraft, and Cubemen 2 similarly gives you tools to do your own world building if you want to design your own custom design. The game has online multiplayer modes, and local offline career mode that pits you against computer enemy units. The point is to deploy enough blocky soldiers to protect your home base, or destroy or capture your opponent's base. Several variations on this are also possible (Skirmish, Capture the Flag, etc.)

Soldier cubemen come in assorted flavors, from basic weaponless blockers, up to plasma firing or high-powered sniper units. You can elect to increase their abilities during the round or use your earned credits to buy new units. Like many TD games, you deploy them to a specific block on the field and then let them do what they do (block, shoot, etc.). In Cubemen, the RTS aspects let you maneuver existing units as well: to pick up bonus drop packages, or move units to a healing station, for example. Cubemen plays a lot like TD, but adds the flexibility of allowing you to constantly shift forces to practically any part of the map, and even use them to attack. You can also give your cubeys a new skin (Luchadore, Knight, etc.) in version 2 or buy (IAP) from a bunch of others available. This game has a bunch of customization options!

You can view a game trailer here.

Pros:

  • Unique RTS/TD action
  • Online and Offline modes of play
  • Lot's of customization and cool features

Cons:

  • TD aspects get a bit monotonous (don't they always?)

The Verdict:

If you like real-time strategy and tower defense in the mix and like to build and customize too, Cubemen is definitely the app for long and arduous gaming sessions.
 

2. Solar Walk 2.2 ($2.99)

I love this app and have used it for years now. Teamed up with Star Walk, you probably can't find two better outer space or night sky reference apps in the App Store universe. I had to mention the recent updates, because they really have added a hoard of new and mucho cool features to this space exploration simulator. I watch a lot of Science Channel and PBS, and often view the Space-oriented science shows with my Solar Walk app fired up, so I can reference key points and possibly pick up additional information.


The app is a little weak on some of the older satellites, like GOES or Meteosat, but is a great reference aid for the Cassini mission to Saturn (Science Channel Saturn coverage), featuring shots of the various moons and a full mission simulation and explanation!

In order to reach Saturn, did you know that we used the gravity wells of Venus, Jupiter, and even the Earth in order to sling-shot the Cassini probe? You not only learn cool stuff like this in Solar Walk, but you can fly around our Solar System or even leave it altogether using the excellent graphics simulations and flybys in the app!

Pros:

  • Most attractive Solar System Reference app in existence
  • Great Reference imagery and statistical information about celestial objects

Cons:

  • Satellite info not complete

The Verdict

Solar Walk is for everyone young or old, and in in my opinion, is even better than watching a Star Trek movie. You learn more real science, for sure.
 

3. Abducted

There is a new game coming from Sunside, a developer breaking the mold of the typical 3D game using its own Radiance engine. Sunside is again attempting to bring unique themes to the adventure genre. Abducted is an action/adventure 3D game that requires puzzle-solving skills as well as quick hand/eye responses. Elements of the gameplay indicated in the video below remind me of Portal (I guess it's the sliding blocks). Abducted features a character (who doesn't really understand where she is or why), a computer AI that can answer questions, and a creepy ship, upon which your character is marooned. The goal is to safely and successfully navigate hazards while learning how you have been "abducted"... See below for a taste.

Abducted is still in development, and is due for release August 1st (availalble for pre-order), but you can be sure we'll review it at length once it comes out, so stay tuned!

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Nate Adcock's picture

Nate Adcock is a system and integration engineer with experience managing and administering a variety of computing environments. He has worked extensively with mobile gadgets of all shapes and sizes for many years. He is also a former military weather forecaster. Nate is a regular contributor for the iphonelife.com and smartphonemag.com blogs and helps manage both websites. Read more from Nate at natestera.drupalgardens.com or e-mail him at nate@iphonelife.com.