A fun 2D platformer that drags on a bit longer than it should.
Planet Cube: Edge is an action-platformer about a cube named Edge who is trying to protect its homeworld from invaders. Taking place primarily in a factory-style setting, you're tasked with guiding Edge from room to room as you assist your fellow cubes and stave off the efforts of those who would drain Planet Cube of its resources. While the gameplay is fairly solid, the game's eight levels are overly long and require that you overcome similar challenges and obstacles over and over again.
Helping Edge save Planet Cube and its citizens makes for an enticing story that never gets in the way of the platforming action. Each of the eight levels is divided into multiple screens, but the levels themselves can take 30 to 60 minutes to complete. Wanting to see how the narrative resolves is certainly worthwhile, but it's hard not to feel that getting to the end is a bit of a slog. Levels throw the same types of jumping and shooting tasks at you ad nauseam, and that feeling of satisfaction is generally replaced with ones of monotony and frustration at being asked to clear yet another room before reaching the end of the level.
Early on, Edge unlocks almost all of its arsenal moves, which include a double jump, a photon blaster shot, and a dash. The difficulty ramps up nicely in the first half of the game, but the second half takes no prisoners, and those without a fair bit of platforming skill and timing are likely to find the challenge too steep. Fortunately, the checkpoint system and quick respawns allow players to get right back into the action, with the rare exception where you'll need to cross multiple pits hazards before being able to advance.
The minute to minute gameplay feels quite good, with Edge being easy to control throughout. Water areas introduce swimming mechanics, and mesh walls have to be used like movable ladders, but every new element adds much needed variety to what is a well worn genre. Planet Cube doesn't necessarily do anything new in the platformer space, but what it does, it does well. The pixel art visuals are also crisp, and the Game Boy-style color palette continues to work well for experiences like this that focus so much on similar gameplay.
For those who want even more of a challenge and added replay value, there are collectibles in each level that force you to go out of your way to secure them. You also need to survive the screen where you find them in order to claim said collectibles. What's neat is that each one represents an audio track, a video, or a gallery image that gets unlocked in the game's main menu. Online leaderboards for each level also offer a reason to dive back into completed levels.
Planet Cube: Edge is a charming but padded experience. Most of the levels overstay their welcome, and this hurts what is generally an enjoyable experience. More certainly feels like less here, as I often found myself sighing as the gimmick of one screen was repeated more than a handful of times. Still, playing as Edge feels great, and as someone who enjoys his fair share of tough 2D platformers, I found the challenge more than met my expectations. If you don't mind lengthy run-and jump-and-gun stages that are filled with similar obstacles, the strong gameplay and replay value make Planet Cube: Edge worth a look for platforming fans.