One of the toughest things about making a 2D platformer must simply be making it stand out amongst the thousands of others. The Cub, from Golf Club Wasteland team Demagog Studio, at least gives itself a leg up in that regard, then, with stylised visuals, a moody soundtrack, and a persistent radio show that plays over the whole game. It's a good look overall, but unfortunately, the platforming can't match it.
Unlike the putting puzzles of the developer's previous title, The Cub is a one-hit-one-kill platformer with little to call its own. You'll go through the routine of jumping, sliding, moving objects, and handling a few stealth sections for less than three hours. While the game markets itself as being challenging, checkpoints are generally very forgiving so you never lose more than a few seconds of progress — save for a few set pieces that put you back at the start.
What actually proves frustrating is some really messy and confusing signposting that makes spotting exit points a lot harder than it should be. Especially in the early game, there are a few areas where it's very difficult to tell where you actually need to go to progress. You're always side-scrolling right, but where on the y-axis that exit route actually is can be tough to spot.
It's the overall visual and auditory design of The Cub that saves it from complete mediocrity, though. The main character spends much of the game with a helmet on its head that receives a radio station playing social commentary and music. The cool thing is you'll actually lose signal as you head underground into caves, making what's said over the airwaves once you come out the other side more intriguing. With the unorthodox soundtrack and stylised scenes to boot, the game gets by on its looks and sounds rather than feel.
It makes for an experience maybe just half a step above average. You have played many games just like The Cub before, but you've never played one that looks or sounds like it.