Gaming Review Q.U.B.E.: Director's Cut

Sam Posten

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A very wise person once told me that it's fine to listen to the voices in your head so long as none of them argue and especially not if they interrupt each other. In Q.U.B.E: Director's cut, both of those no-nos get broken quickly as you are thrust into the role of humanity's last hope as we battle an alien force with our wits alone, delving to the the center of a mysterious cube floating in space, solving logic puzzles in order to destroy it. Or at least that's what the first disembodied voice you hear would have you believe. The second one claims that you are simply a patsy, a rat in a maze running experiments for your captors to observe, and that you are rushing towards your own annihilation.



Trailer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aReymdg5ueE&feature=youtu.be

Q.U.B.E. itself stands for "Quick Understanding of Block Extrusion" and if that doesn't make sense at first, it will do so very rapidly as you come to grips with your predicament. You are alone in a very stark series of chambers and must rely on your brains to solve the 3D puzzles presented in order to reach successive checkpoints. Obvious comparisons to Portal and its sequel can be made, but the mechanisms at your disposal for puzzle solving are much more varied than simply opening and closing holes, and in general I found the actual puzzle solving to be much more relaxing. In Q.U.B.E. it seems impossible to die through misadventure and only a few of the traps allow for a 'reset' to occur. Experimentation is strongly encouraged and winning this way often leads to a series of 'AHA!' moments that are very satisfying. I completed the main adventure in a leisurely 4 hours and believe that most players will feel satisfied that they got their money's worth ($9.99).

Sam Solves a problem in Q.U.B.E.: Director's Cut:


That said, where the Portal series is clearly superior is in its devilish nemesis. The Q.U.B.E. story certainly keeps you guessing, even once credits have rolled, but I never got the feeling of closure that resulted from seeing GLaDOS torn asunder.



Besides your own body and the two voices in your head, the real star character in Q.U.B.E. is the environments. Despite their spartan color patterns and geometric rigidity, the incredible shifts and turns that they endure are hypnotizing, and as satisfying as it is to be in control of them, nowhere is this more evident than when you are not in control and the structures tremble at the damage you have caused as you race to your next objective. The use of color is particularly well done as well, with dramatic use of colored particles to direct which power you choose to employ. About 3/4 through you are plunged into darkness and here the colors come into their own, acting as your only guides.



Ultimately I give Q.U.B.E. a solid B, especially in light of its enticing price at introduction. Fans of Portal and similar puzzlers will find much to like here but should not expect the story to reach the heights of that series.
 
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