Invasion for Merge Cube – Game Review (iOS)

Today I went over the paid Merge Cube apps and I came across Invasion for Merge Cube, which looks like an interesting game. It’s kind of a hide and seek game, very similar to AR Hide and Seek Virtual City.

Gameplay

In Invasion the player needs to locate three items which are spread in fixed locations throughout the map. There is a total of 6 waves (I have no idea why it’s called a “wave”). The map is drawn on each side of the Merge Cube. You first start with only a single facet of the cube revealed and the other facets are revealed as you progress.

In order to move on to the next wave, the player needs to locate at least one item before the time runs out. I didn’t use a timer, but I think you have around 1 minute to find the items.At the end of the round, you get a 3-start (alien head to be more precise) rating based on how many items you were able to obtain.

Playing Invasion endless mode
Playing Invasion endless mode

After the six wave, there is an Endless mode, which is also timed, and you have around 30 seconds to find a single item on the map. If you find it, you move on to the next item and so forth.

Difficulty

Invaders for Merge Cube is quite a difficult game. It’s difficult because the items are very small and placed in a very detailed world. Second, the pixel-art make it harder to locate them. Third, you have very short time to locate all three objects.

Now, it’s difficult for just those who want to obtain all the three items for each wave, but it isn’t necessary for progression. It only takes to find one item in order to unlock the next wave. So in that thought, it’s not a hard game at all, you can easily complete it in like 10 minutes or so.

I do like the endless mode, as it provides added replayability and it very challenging.

Usability in Phone Mode

Invasion game level design
I like that each facet has a different theme, but an urban theme isn’t that exciting, at least not for me.

Why I am talking about refers only to the AR Mode, I didn’t try it in VR mode so I cant provides feedback about this mode.

Generally speaking, I suffered playing this game, but it’s because I am not young as I used to be, and it is hard for to focus on tiny items on the cube. Young players won’t have a problem with that though. I found myself placing the cube very close to my iPad’s camera so I can see a larger view of the world, but this ruin the whole experience for two reasons: first, I lost sight of the shape of the Merge Cube as the world filled the screen completely and second, the Merge Cube software lost tracking because I placed the cube too close to the camera.

Invasion map closeup
This is how close I needed to hold the cube to the iPad’s camera in order to locate the items. Never had to do it in all the other Merge Cube game that I’ve played. Can you see the cube? No? Neither did I when I held it so close.

I played it on the iPad, so just imagine what a torture it could have been had I played it with the iPhone, on a smaller screen. I think this game could have been a lot better with a less dense world and larger objects. I did like the detailed graphics and the unique sound of each facet that look and feel different, but it just felt annoying to play it like this.

Even if you have excellent eyesight, still, I think that it would have been better with larger items and a less dense world. This is the first time that I am complaining about something like that in all of the hundreds of AR games that I’ve played. A game should be designed with that usability matter in mind. Making that change would greatly improve the flow of the game. With that type level design, players will find themselves glancing at the cube more than enjoying a dynamic gameplay that evolves rotating it.

One of the reasons I enjoy playing Tiltball is that the rotation of the cube played a significant role in the game.Glancing at the cube was fun in playing 57° North, but this is a completely different experience.

That being said, after some time you’ll remember where each item is located, and the gameplay becomes easier and more fluid and feels more like a memory game.

So what can be done to improve it and still maintain the same look? Well, just make the objects larger. It will solve the accessibility issue and make the game more enjoyable for everyone to play, not just adults. I let my neighbor play the game and try it out—he had the same opinion.

I personally felt like a pixel hunter the entire time and it hindered me from enjoying the unique visual experience that Merge Cubes games are known for.

Fun Factor

Overall I found the game to be unexciting for a Merge Cube game. If you love Where’s Waldo? puzzle style games, you will enjoy playing this game.

Here is a gameplay video I took earlier today. Enjoy.

I found myself spending more time staring at the scene up-close than enjoying rotating the cube as part of the gameplay mechanic that works so well in other games that I’ve played.In this game, it just felt like flipping a page in a book, it didn’t add anything exciting to the gameplay itself.

I have to admit that every game that I play on the Merge Cube looks magnificent, it’s because how the way the level is placed on the cube, it just looks different than anything else that I’ve played before.

I can’t remember the last hide-and-seek game that I’ve played, but it was a non-AR game, and it has beautiful scenes, unlike this game that has a boring city scene. There is actually one facet with a camping place that looks pretty good, but the other parts of the area are nothing special, just land and trees.

If you love playing hide-and-seek games, there is a great chance that you might enjoy playing this game as well, despite what I said, it does bring something different because the way it is designed for the Merge Cube.

Conclusion

As you can tell, the game didn’t impress me but it wasn’t too bad either. It just turned out to be an unexciting experience. There are things that I did like, for example,  the progressive play is a good choice and the endless mode provides the added replay value that the game needs.

I would probably enjoy the game more had I have the option to search the object without a time limit, or if with a time limit, to have more time to find those objects. Having more time will make it easier to remember where those items are placed.

I also think that the game would feel more exciting with a different scene. I mean, you have a complete freedom choosing any scene you like, why go with a boring city scene?

I recommend checking out the gameplay video above and see whether you like how it plays, then decide whether it’s worth paying for it or not. I didn’t enjoy it for the reasons I’ve stated in my review, but you might.

You can download the game from the App Store here.



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