|System: X360 (XBLA)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Premium Agency||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Square Enix||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan. 20, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-8||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
In terms of presentation, the game is really well organized - it's very easy to navigate the menus and unlock all of the content. On the downside, the diversity of the visuals and sounds is quite poor. Though your robot skins are nice, the lack of creative enemy types and the super-confined, uninspired, arena-style levels make DBC look amateurish. In fact, the best part of DBC's visual presentation is the gore-filled explosions. Otherwise, levels essentially look like a jumbled mess - it really can be quite difficult to concentrate on what you're supposed to do because there is often far too much action on the screen at one time. The aural complements actually fare even worse. The only noteworthy sound effect, and not because of its quality, is when you get close to death; a shrill warning effect is unleashed - you'll recognize it as the busy tone during phone calls. Sampling from the public domain in this way lends no credence to the game's final polish.
The tide of downloadable games that hit XBLA week in and week out means many praiseworthy and even more lackluster titles are often neglected. Such is the case with Death By Cube, making the multiplayer side of the title essentially unplayable. Hooking up with eight players online in games of deathmatch and domination could conceivably be decent fun, but when there are only a few players hopping on at any given time, the action is decidedly dull. This is a shame for those who've purchased the game and have grown tired of the repetitive single-player. Hopefully consumers of Death By Cube will eventually be rewarded for their purchase with a thriving, competitive community. However, as it stands right now, plan on honing your skills in single-player for awhile longer.
Death By Cube is unique and challenging, which will undoubtedly go a long way toward giving this title initial and lasting appeal for many arcade enthusiasts. I, unfortunately, became bored quickly, making the majority of the game feel like a repetitive and unrewarding slog. I guess, in the end, it all comes down to your taste in gaming. If you are a patient connoisseur of stick shooters, there is probably a lot to like in Death By Cube. However, if you are simply looking for a great arcade game to fill the gaps between AAA titles, you'll definitely want to pass this one up in favor of other proven gems on XBLA.
CCC Editor / News Director