Over the last eight years or so, Mojang’s Minecraft has become a phenomenon in its own right. Its survival sandbox and creative capabilities have captured a generation of gamers and spawned a franchise that has grown into toys and clothing. Since its conception, many other titles have tried to replicate Minecraft’s style, or have simply based themselves on its voxel presentation and whilst, for the most part, the majority of them have done a pretty decent job as an alternative, none of them have gone on to match the pure playability and success of Mojang’s franchise. One of the better games to come out of this replication, came in the form of Cube Creator DX on the 3DS, a game that has now been ported as Cube Creator X as it digs a release onto the Nintendo Switch.
Developed by Big John Games, with publishing through Arc System Works, Cube Creator X builds a very different style of architecture from Mojang’s Minecraft, focusing on action and adventure rather than survival, but still retains a high level of creativity with the building blocks of a voxel world. Its also seen a bit of an overhaul since its 3DS release, with more content from extra items to build with, more tools to dig with and updated graphics to bring a new sharpness to its crisp world. For the most part, it still follows the same footprints as Minecraft, with an endless level of sandbox creativity, mining for resources and building your own creations, as well as a number of biomes to keep the environments fresh. However, what Cube Creator X also brings, is a number of extra features for sharing creations, a story mode adventure and endless options to customize the world around you.
Digging within this world is merely scratching the surface of the content that this game can offer you. The more you explore, the more you uncover, from fighting enemy types or mobs, building and crafting, as well as taking on the responsibilities of owning your own pet. However, when you first load up the game, the number of options with which to play can offer you a completely different experience from what you may normally expect. From the home screen, there are a series of five play modes to explore, from customisation to the Plaza, a stage creator and creation mode and last but not least, the Adventure mode. Each of the play modes offer something distinctly different from each other and offer a wealth of playability on what they do.
Customisation mode is what it implies, giving you the ability to personalise your experience within the game when it comes to your playable character or avatar. From a staggering pre-select menu of options, you can change your character however way you like, from altering its colour, appearance and attire. Want to change from Yellow to Blue? Then you can, you can even decorate your avatar with a patterned exterior. Want glasses, or a headband, even a moustache? Then again, you can. In fact the only boundaries lie in your creativity and the countless creations you can make here are simply endless.
The second option, the Plaza, is an area where you upload your creations and download others that other players have created. These can range from character skins to level designs and easily rivals triple-A titles such as Super Mario Maker 2 in its scale and depth of possibilities. You can also label your favourites and give them cool ratings to increase their popularity within specific searches. This area of the game ties in with the customisation options of your character and also links with the next mode: The Stage Creator. This is essentially a creative mode, but one where you can build set levels and give them specific rules. For instance, want to build a death run or create a board game? Then you can do so and upload it for anyone else to play; just as you can download anyone else’s creation and play it yourself, prolonging the overall shelf life of the game to infinite possibilities.
The number of options within the stage creator are just as vast as the game itself. You can select from a number of biomes, from forests and tropical beaches, deserts and snowy tundras to fantasia lands, underwater mirages, sky islands and even a hellscape. Again the possibilities here are simply endless. The components for crafting are also expansive, with a number of block styles, shapes and sizes; you can even build half blocks, giving you much more freedom within your own creativity than the offerings that Minecraft presented. There’s grass, sand or ice, as well as NPC’s and enemy types to play with and a number of traps from explosives to spikes to build your very own playable levels.
Creation mode is a similar concept to the Stage Creator, but this mode is for block building only. There are no animals or enemies to hamper you here, you are simply given free reign to get your creative juices flowing and makes an ideal entry point for learning all of the techniques that the game offers. For me though, its biggest selling point and most playable game mode comes in the form of Adventure mode. You begin with your character and a home world and interact with a number of NPC’s that presents a quest of travelling to other worlds in order to gather biome tablets that unlock further worlds and portals. It plays in a similar fashion to Minecraft, at least in terms of mining, building and survival, but here, you play along a story and fulfil quests along your journey, making it a much more investive experience.
Everything is presented in a crisp and bright environment, with catchy tunes that matches the fun that can be had with this game. Its interface is intuitive, often with simple key bindings that activate specific functions, such as digging and building and its vast expanses of items are simply staggering. Whatever mode you play in, the game simply oozes fun and offers limitless replayability with its creative modes and the option to download other creations from the internet. Its technical performance is also smoothly executed, although the game does leave a large digital footprint on your memory card with a game save that exceeds one gigabyte, but for all that it offers, its a sacrifice that’s well worth it.
Overall, Cube Creator X is a very solid alternative to Mojang’s Minecraft and in some ways, presents a more superior experience in terms of creative content. Sure, it will never match the same level of success, but in terms of replicating its formula to create a fun-filled game, this title simply excels. All of its modes provide an interesting premise that will entertain gamers of all ages and its story-driven adventure adds to the foundations of Minecraft’s survival style and produces a more compelling experience that invests the player fully. Its ease of use and bright, colourful palette makes this an irresistible game that is simply hard not to recommend; especially if you’re looking for another voxel world into which to lose yourself and explore.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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Cube Creator X Review
Gameplay - 8/10
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Replay Value - 8/10
Cube Creator X offers a world of limitless possibilities and easily rivals the big kid of the block, Minecraft.