Q.U.B.E.-Director's-Cut-Review Q.U.B.E. Director's Cut Review

   03/08/2015 at 17:10       N H       0 COMMENTS. - Score 3/5
 - Puzzle, Digital, PC, Xbox One, PS4

Q.U.B.E. (‘Quick Understanding of Block Extrusion’) first appeared at the tail-end of 2011, first on PC, then Mac, and now most other major platforms. The game was the ultimate product of a trio of students in the US, who took their idea and ran with it, culminating in this ‘director’s cut’. It’s an admirable story, even if the game is not always as inspiring.

Q.U.B.E. Director's Cut takes place in a world of… cubes. The player character, using their left and right hands, pulls and pushes various coloured cubes, each with a different response, to find their way through the labyrinth. This edition has added in a story to the succession of puzzles, and whilst it’s diverting, it’s not the strongest part of the game. That comes from the clever, sometimes intricate puzzles that unfold over the life of the game. Its most obvious influence is Portal, and although it doesn’t quite reach that series’ heights, it does serve up a sequence of nice-to-devilish puzzles.

These develop from simple climbing puzzles to intricate, multi-layered puzzles that require both a spot of application and some quick reactions to activate various mechanics at the right moment. Whilst these puzzles work very well, and grow in difficulty sensibly and reasonably, there is a slight roughness to the player movement and interaction with the world that, whilst not a barrier to solving the puzzles in any sense, mean one can sometimes feel not so much a person solving puzzles as a disembodied brain. It’s a small charge, but it has its impact.

Visually the game is fairly uniform for much of the time, but it takes some interesting and much more pleasing turns later on, also adding to the difficulty of the puzzles. Aurally it’s competent, and the whole thing is packaged together well and smoothly, with good loading-times (and, mechanically, puzzles can be reset almost instantly in most cases, allowing multiple attempts swiftly) and a solid, stable base. 

This edition also adds in ten levels of speed-run challenges, which turn the screw to force both quick thinking and quick action. This adds a lot to the puzzles, which for the most part in the campaign can be taken at a rather sedate pace, if you so like – contrary to the narrative’s demands; or at least, the narrative’s ostensible demands…

Q.U.B.E. Director's Cut is a decent, solid, inexpensive puzzler. It’s an impressive piece of work from a small team, and whilst it’s never stunningly wonderful, it provides a decent challenge, with inventive and thoughtful puzzles and a distinct style. This version is the best, in terms of content, that you can grab. If you like Portal and fancy similar, you could do much worse than snap it up. Just don’t expect a revolution.

Stars
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