Review: Planet Cube: Edge (Nintendo Switch)
Planet Cube: Edge is a platformer for the Nintendo Switch. That simple statement belies what’s beneath the surface: a challenging and addictive title that should scratch the itch for genre fans.
The premise is simple; an invasion on the peaceful Planet Cube leads to an adventure that sees our hero, Edge, attempt to rescue his fellow cuboids and their planet. As Edge makes his way through various environments from laboratories to subways, he faces off against a myriad of tough foes that stand in his way.
The gameplay is nothing short of addictive. If you’re a platforming aficionado, this is likely to have you grinning from ear to ear. Edge has the default ability to run and jump, with additional abilities unlocked as you progress. You’ll soon be equipped with handy items like a blaster and a jetpack. The blaster not only helps eliminate foes, it presents puzzles with shootable locks that open new pathways. The super-handy jetpack lets you quickly traverse pits and other perils. Think spikes. Lots of spikes. For some reason, Planet Cube is littered with these deadly objects.
What this also translates to is a very challenging outing. Death awaits you at almost every turn. The difficulty level is obvious from the outset when you’re quickly introduced to Planet Cube’s dynamics. Sure, there’s the usual run, jump, and shoot mechanics, but the traps and enemies offer such fresh variety, it feels wonderful to play; even when you die a lot. Whether it’s robo-turrets that pummel you with lasers, mines that explode seconds after you touch them, or blades that change speed depending on whether you’re on the ground, there’s always something to keep you on your toes.
Thankfully, although one hit will kill your little cubed avatar, you instantly respawn close by. This makes it super easy to replay those tricky sections over and over (and over) until you conquer them. And when you do conquer them, it’s an extremely satisfying feeling!
There are also optional objects to collect along the way. These add another layer of complexity via some super-tough areas. You can skip them and come back if you prefer, adding longevity to the game. Again, if you can pull off the trickery required to collect these items, the reward is a feeling of pure accomplishment. It’s like nothing can stop you.
There’s a fine line between difficult and frustrating, and the team has done a great job of balancing this feeling. It will appeal to players who enjoy a challenging (but fair) platformer; on the other hand, casual gamers will likely be infuriated. There are no settings to choose your difficulty, but I can see why not. It’s not the number of enemies or amount of lives that would help, it’s the platforming perils themselves. If you had fun with Mario’s Star Road outings, that gives you some idea of what to expect.
Achievements are also present, providing another incentive to keep playing. These humorous additions are displayed on-screen as you unlock them. For example, I died multiple times while attempting the same jump; this resulted in a “Doesn’t learn the first time” achievement. It may be the definition of crazy to attempt the same thing and expect different results; I prefer to think I don’t give up easily.
Planet Cube stands out visually as well. It relies on a terrific retro aesthetic that combines a grayscale 16-bit look overlaid with a blue tone. It looks terrific, with splendidly ‘90s cutscenes to introduce the story and each chapter. The audio complements the overall style, with bouncing tunes that sit neatly in the background without becoming repetitive or annoying. Even Edge himself makes a cute “boing” sound when he jumps; it’s very well designed.
Overall, Planet Cube: Edge isn’t just another platformer. This is a pure delight for genre fans, providing an addictively fun romp through a challenging world. The simple graphics belie a wonderful game full of tricks. Don’t be fooled by the cuteness of our cuboid hero; this is a tough title that will appeal to anyone looking to keep busy for quite some time.