There's some pretty neat box-rolling games on the App Store, like Edge [$2.99 / Review] and Beyond Ynth [$1.99 / Review] which are both outstanding. But the latest box-rolling game to hit my iPod is Cubes vs. Spheres [99¢] by ShockPanda Games. It's a 3D physics-based, almost "tower defense" game, where you fight off waves of advancing cubes, which roll towards your circular base.

The retina graphics are minimalistic and stylized. It's a sterile white world with ledges, blocky edges and cool structures from which cubes pour down from. The first step is to determine which cubes to attack next (typically the closest, or biggest cluster), then select the most appropriate sphere for the job and finally, swipe the sphere in the appropriate direction, at the necessary speed and power, to smash the approaching cubes into flying fragments.

There's six different super-spheres to unlock and buy (with game money). The blue "Splitter Sphere" can be tapped mid-flight, to split into three or five sphere's, much like the birds in Angry Birds [99c], but presented in 3D. The "Boom Spheres" are, as the name suggests, explosive; "Homing Spheres" prefer not to miss, so they lock onto their target; while the popular "Decoy Spheres" attract the cubes, like bees to honey, so they pile up on top of each other -- and then explode awesomely, blowing the unsuspecting cubes to bits.

There's also three different varieties of cube. Red cubes are the most common, with black cubes being stronger and the occasional ghost cube is intentionally harder to see. The cubes are all worth the same amount of points, with combos being key for larger scores.

The controls are pretty straightforward. There's six buttons to choose and activate the type of sphere, then tap or swipe towards an enemy to roll or throw the sphere. The longer and faster the swipe, the more power is used for the throw.  Be warned - this is not a slow or easy game, as you typically end up swiping frantically to eliminate the cubes, especially near the end of each level.

The cubes sneakily approach from both the front and sides, so you need to look around to see what's approaching. You can choose between tilt, swipe, or inverted swipe to scan the area. You can also tilt your device to look around the menu screens, but this only works while tilt-mode is enabled.

There's 30 levels in total, split evenly between easy, medium and hard levels. Each level is rewarded by a three-star scoring system, based on points scored. A perfect score ("P") is awarded if your score achieves 3 stars and no cubes reach your base. To obtain perfects for all levels, you may need to replay some levels after unlocking the more powerful spheres. You can score combos by destroying cubes in quick succession, with the score multiplier incrementing with each cube eliminated, up to a maximum of 5x. Chain reactions also occur, as exploding cubes destroy other cubes, which helps boost your score.

Cubes vs. Spheres is a universal game, so you can install it on all of your iOS devices. There's Game Center rankings for easy, medium, hard and total modes, plus 37 achievements. The developers advise that on the first day, approximately 90% of the Game Center users were not paid users, which is a shame because this unique sphere-tossing game has awesome cube-explosions, and that's always worth paying for.

TouchArcade Rating

  • Anonymous

    Definitely think I'll be picking this one up sometime soon. It's games like these that I love to see. Sure, my iPhone is capable of some high-end stuff but even on my Xbox I only have about three big name games. The rest are all Kinect. Challenging, fun, original, and eye-catching. That's what a big part of iPhone gaming is.

    • ShockPanda

      Endless mode is being heavily considered for the next major update.

      • Anonymous

        Cool. I did go ahead and buy the game and it's definitely a fun one. Challenging but not too hard. Really nice and fun. Good pick up.

  • curious

    What do they mean by "90% were none paying users"?  Pirated software then?

    • Adams Immersive

      Yes, I fear so.

  • Josiah Munsey


  • Ariectus

    Wow, I'm really interested in this, I love the art style. I'm a sucker for long draw-distances with smooth graphics, something I really liked about jet car stunts as well, and minecraft (a little less smooth but impressive as hell)

  • Michael Kingery

    swiping to fire is pretty worthless but required as tapping doesn't seem to be able to hit all of the enemies. the swipe the fling mechanic interferes with the look controls too often though.

  • Ben John

    This looks really nice, I'm always happy to see games which, when, way back in 1990, I thought I'd be playing today. Hope that makes some kinda sense to somebody 🙂
    Its like the forever flowering fruit of some long forgotten plant, in a multicore retinal garden where every other flower is a thousand miniature versions of itself in a parasitic spiral. (dance)

  • Anonymous

    This looks really nice, I'm always happy to see games which, when, way back in 1990, I thought I'd be playing today. Hope that makes some kinda sense to somebody 🙂
    Its like the forever flowering fruit of some long forgotten plant, in a multicore retinal garden where every other flower is a thousand miniature versions of itself in a parasitic spiral. (dance)

  • UmbraVir

    The only reason this game is keeping me from buying it is because it seems like the game has no replay value.

    I mean look at it. It's essentially as physics based defense game with >>limited<< amount of levels. 

    I feel like if the devs added an endless mode where the blocks keep on coming, it'd be a huge seller.

    • UmbraVir

      But this goes for every arcade style app. Even though it might only be 99c, 99c goes a long way in the appstore(plus it's really hard for non-credit card users to put credit into the apple store- have to use a gift card. every. single. time)

      • Anonymous

        how else do you expect to pay for apps if you don't use a credit card?

      • UmbraVir

        You get gift cards from local stores and then charge them off your account.

    • ShockPanda

      We are definitely looking into adding an endless mode based on the feedback we've received on the app store and in the TA forums.  With another vote here it might just become inevitable.

      • dEEPZoNE

        Definitely gyro controls next patch

      • UmbraVir

        Sounds awesome. If you do plan to add an endless mode, it's important to give it a good difficulty curve(keep it challenging, but don't make it too easy so that people never lose)

  • deadclown

    This isn't a review! Nowhere do you say if the game is any good. Huh?!

    TA really, really needs to get consistent about a quantitative review system. This kind of stuff is amateurish. 

    • Lol

      act like your name and shut it!

    • Troy Woodfield

      My overall impression was encapsulated into a high rating out of 5 stars.
      That doesn't seem to be displayed. But yes, I enjoyed the innovative
      game-play & graphics of Cubes vs. Spheres. 

  • RMimagery

    Amazing game. Already addicted. Another vote for endless mode...

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  • BratPAQ

    You said 6 sphere but you enumerated only 4. What's the other 2?

Cubes vs. Spheres Reviewed by Troy Woodfield on . Rating: 4