In space, no one can hear you move blocks.
The first-person puzzle game has been at the forefront of the genre ever since the Portal craze. Everyone wanted to mimic the success of Valve’s masterpiece. Among those released was Q.U.B.E., which added enough on its own to make it stand out, but also demanded comparisons to Chell and company. Now, five years after release a re-release is upon us, with new content and landing on new platforms. The results are still the same, and being my first time through the title, I found it extremely addicting.
The most surprising thing about Q.U.B.E. is that the story actually intrigued me. Most puzzle games of this type feature some type of narrative hook to explain why we are moving said blocks, but here I wanted to know what happened. Players wake up on an alien craft on a collision course with Earth. There is a transmission from someone that goes in and out depending on location. Very little is explained, and over time things start falling into place. It is an interesting ride, and makes the journey that much more interesting.
Platforms: XB1, PS4, PC, Wii U, PS3
Price I’d Pay: $9.99
The concept is simple. Move blocks to progress to the next room, rinse and repeat. The game does a fantastic job of easing players into the ideas behind the game; almost too good. By the time the more complex stuff comes into play, the game is more than halfway over. The campaign is criminally short, and I really wanted more.
Puzzles revolve around the hands of the player. Each trigger makes different colored blocks react in different ways. For example, blue blocks let the player bounce off of them, while red ones extend in segments. Each color has its own properties, and figuring out how to exit the room is always the goal. It is simple in design, and the developers know how to create that “just one more puzzle” hook to keep me playing. As I mentioned though, it ends far too soon. I wanted more. Thankfully there is a new mode here designed to challenge players, but I still would have just loved some more of the main game.
There are also hidden puzzles within certain areas that are more challenging than the standard ones. These are some of the best parts of the game. The length should not deter anyone from playing the game though. Fans that enjoy puzzlers like Portal definitely need to check this game out. It has that same sense of solitary confinement and atmosphere that made those games so much fun to plow through.
Visually the design is elegant and simple. Most rooms look like padded walls at a sanitarium. The colors stand out amongst the vanilla background, and the mood feels just right. There is always something nagging at my brain that something bigger is going on. This is further enhanced by the excellent sound design, pitching in effects and tracks at just the right time. The atmosphere is amazing. It’s worth playing with headphones for maximum effect.
Q.U.B.E. deserved a second chance to get noticed, and now console owners have the opportunity to experience this cerebral puzzle game. I admit I missed it the first time around and absolutely had a blast with it. I highly recommend it to those that enjoy titles such as Portal. I hope someday to see a sequel, and next time I will be there day one to experience the solitary excellence firsthand.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.