QUBE is a fantastic example of engaging, innovative puzzle platforming, drawing upon Portal for inspiration.

User Rating: 8 | Q.U.B.E. PC
QUBE (Quick Understanding of Block Extrusion is what it stands for, if you were wondering) is a fantastic example of engaging, innovative puzzle platforming, drawing upon Portal for inspiration, but not copying it verbatim.

First up, you can't write about QUBE and not acknowledge its gorgeous artistic direction. Think Portal's stark, sterile test chambers married with Mirror's Edge's splashes of vivid primary colour, and QUBE is what you get. It looks stunning, with fantastic lighting effects and incredibly fluid animation for block extrusions that could have so easily been unexciting. You won't just be extruding blocks, however, later in the game you'll see magnet puzzles and puzzles involving the direction of light, sometimes even a combination of all three. But you never feel out of your depth, again like Portal, QUBE's learning curve is perfectly pitched – gradually introducing various new block types, and concepts for solving puzzles, before starting to combine them until you are managing 4 or 5 block types, guiding balls or cubes you can't control, all while spinning sections of the room around. Rooms can feel overwhelming when you first enter them, but this soon subsides and you begin to break down each section of the room, and figure out what you need to do.

Figuring out what you need to do in each level you come to is all you have to worry about, as there is no story to speak of here – though it becomes apparent by sector 6 how the story might have played out, if it wasn't scrapped (apparently the powers-that-be thought that the Welsh and English voice acting that they had recorded for the game might have alienated some of their audience…) It was refreshing not to see QUBE go down a Portal-esque story route, and I actually think that the lack of story adds to the atmosphere of the game. As does the minimal music and sound. They both add to the sterile atmosphere, and almost make the game feel claustrophobic at some points.

There are some issues, however. The first part of sector 5, while successful in showing off the lighting effects available in the Unreal engine, was horrible to play – reducing the puzzles to memory games, making it unreasonably hard to complete a simple puzzle. For me, the excitement in a puzzle game like this is the challenge in working out what you need to do, not in actually carrying out your solution. But this part was just a temporary, but surmountable bump in an otherwise completely smooth playing experience. 6 out of 15 of the Steam achievements, if they matter to you, are bugged as of writing, but the developers have acknowledged this and are aiming to fix this for the next patch.

Continued at: http://jonnyedge.blogspot.com/2012/01/passing-judgment-on-qube.html
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