Cube was one of the very few FPS games available for linux many years ago. Although it had an active community around it, things didn’t go well and Cube was never seriously developed and updated.
Things have now changed and Cube 2 was released a few days ago bringing tons of improvements compared to the original. Is it good enough for the 2013 linux gamer though?
Graphics and Sound
The first thing that a good 2013 fps game should provide is an at least acceptable audiovisual experience. I especially liked the death metal background music that follows the steps of the original game and I was satisfied by the explosion sounds in general. Apart from those I liked nothing else.
There is no different sound when stepping to surfaces of different materials, I almost never heard anyone walking, running or even jumping near me and most guns produce a dull sound when fired.
The graphics quality is unfortunately also very bad. Although Cube 2 looks are very much improved compared to Cube, it still isn’t good enough to be compared with Xonotic or Warsow. The display configuration menu by the way is an unholy mess of switches, bars, checkboxes and badly designed buttons.
The trees and the waterfall look like they were taken from SuperTux Kart
Let’s not be too harsh with the completely open source and entirely written from scratch Cube engine though. Things may look somewhat better depending on the map you are playing but in general you should not expect to see very high quality textures and effects.
First thing I tried out was the multiplayer. A game aiming to be fun and loyal to deathmatch fans should provide a crowded and stable multiplayer platform and Cube 2 does that in some extent. Various game modes are available including the classics capture the flag and deathmatch.
Many available games, most of which are empty of players
I found that most maps are badly designed in terms of team balance, spawn positions, power-ups availability etc. The good thing is that there are good maps too that you can vote for ingame. The even better thing is that you can edit maps and create what you want from scratch working together with other people through the multiplayer!
Passing by the bot mode that is exactly what you imagine it is, I reach in to the actual juice of this game that is the campaign mode. Here you can do what you can’t do in almost all open source FPS games available right now, and that is to be thrown inside a big map where you fight alone against many monsters, from a starting point to an ending one.
An energy ball is heading towards me. Still got time to polish my carbine before I move out of the way
There are many different enemies in Campaign mode, varying from small weak thugs to big sized powerful gunners. To get through places you may sometimes explode barrels, take elevators, move levers to open doors etc.
You can also use weapons that your enemies drop as long as you have enough ammo to use it. A few ammo boxes and health power-ups are found here and there, but in general you should be careful or quickly die and start from the beginning (there are no checkpoints).
Looks like an intrepid ibex lives in the yard
What I didn’t like about the campaign mode is the way the story gets interrupted when you finish a map and you will have to manually choose the next one, the fact that there is no story at all, the fact that the enemy monsters often get stuck in places although they see you and try to reach you and the fact that the energy balls that some of the enemies fire at you travel at a ridiculously low speed.
No need to install anything, just download the game from the official website and unzip the downloaded file. Inside you will find a pre-compiled binary file that you can run from a terminal.
Cube2: Sauerbraten is a huge improvement compared to the original game indeed, but it doesn’t look good enough for me to keep playing. I don’t know what the future development possibilities and abilities for this game engine are, but at this point the only thing that offered a somewhat atmospheric and acceptable game experience was the campaign mode. Give it a try, but don’t expect to be blown away :)