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Revisiting Alphaville in The Cub

Last year, I wrote about Golf Club Wasteland, a post-apocalyptic “golf” game developed by a Serbian studio called Demagog Studio. They recently revealed a new game called Highwater, but they also have another game in development, The Cub. With a demo available for that one, I decided to try it out. While it has similar control sensitivity issues to their earlier game, the vibes it gives certainly interest me.

A shared universe but very different games

All of Demagog Studio’s games share a similar universe, although the games are wildly different. Golf Club Wasteland was a mini-golf-styled game with a story, whereas The Cub is a platformer. Both games feature a radio program called Radio Nostalgia From Mars, they take place in the same general location, and the lead of this game makes a minor appearance in the other one

The developers remark that The Cub hearkens back to the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive days of platformers. For me though, I was getting Limbo/Inside vibes. Like those games from Playdead, The Cub has you exploring weird environments where your character can easily get injured and die. Fall too far down, you die. Not paying attention to that nearby snake or alligator, you die. You really do need to be aware of your surroundings as you traverse.

The demo itself is pretty short and for the most part, pretty linear. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There is enough variety here to give you an idea of some places the character will wander through. It also gives you a pretty nice snippet of what to expect from Radio Nostalgia From Mars. There are a few extras to discover along the way, which will probably help with the replayability if they factor into the story as they did with their previous game.

Frustrating Controls

My only real frustration with the platforming was the finicky controls. I was very critical of Golf Club Wasteland’s controls being a little too sensitive, and the same problem is here. There were two sections in the demo, late on, where I was failing to progress because my commands were not responding to what I needed to do.

One spot requires you to avoid traps being fired at by an enemy, all while also hopping over obstacles and proceeding to break some wood to progress. But, if you don’t time your moves exactly, you can’t get the momentum to break the wood. If you don’t do it fast enough, the enemy gets you.

In another area, you need to quickly leap to the top of an area by grabbing the ledges of a soon-to-fall structure. Again, timing is so important and if you can’t properly flow from one section to the next, you won’t reach the top in time. The first few times I died were because I was learning what I needed to do. But after learning what was required of me, I was getting frustrated because I wasn’t grabbing the ledges I needed. I was often either missing my jump or the controls thought I was trying to do something else instead.

I want to see more

Because I enjoyed the story in Golf Club Wasteland, I’m keen on playing The Cub when it eventually releases. I like the art style and the music will once again keep me wanting to hear it all. At the moment, there is no clear launch date for The Cub. However, it’s coming to all platforms when it does.

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