Q.U.B.E: Director’s Cut Xbox One Review

Let’s start in a dramatic ambiance, you wake up in a strange and dark place, you don´t remember why are you there and who you are. The only thing that you have is a pair of gloves capable of playing with the physics of colored blocks. The good thing is that you are not alone, a voice travels with you, helping you and guiding you through this dark maze, defying your mind with easy puzzles at the beginning and head-breaking, hair-removing creations that will punish you with difficulty. Ok, that beginning sounds kind of familiar. If you have played Portal, you might like this game, it looks like it at the start, but you’ll see that this is really different.

But what exactly is Q.U.B.E? Well it stands for Quick Understanding of Block Extrusion. It may not make sense with the meaning of the story, but it makes sense with the dynamics. In the story, this voice keeps guiding you to go through a big maze and get to the end. Why? Because it will stop a great evil that will destroy the earth. Sounds easy right? Well it is until another voice gets in your head telling you that this is a trap, an experiment, and that you are inside a twisted test to break you. For a three hour game, the story is deep, good and really confusing, playing with your mind and making you question who to trust, at least I didn’t knew who to believe. At first I wasn’t sure what I was getting in, but the complexity of the puzzles made it worthwhile.

Raising the red block.

Use the blocks to move around.

I thought that using colour blocks would be easy. Red blocks were raised and lowered at my will, yellow blocks created a staircase and blue blocks made me jump. Easy mechanics to learn, but then the complexity was growing, using the blocks to help balls travel through a little maze, then combining colours and solving light puzzles created this experience into a headache. Not in a bad way, of course not, I always love a challenge and Q.U.B.E. becomes a a big one as I kept getting further into its story.

The mechanics feel great with the puzzles, but another thing that amazed me was the game’s visuals. It begins using white, symmetric rooms,  with no imperfection, but as you move on, it gets uglier and dirtier, still looking beautiful in a artistic way. Q.U.B.E. starts to change not only in the story, but also in how you see the ambiance; looking at destroyed rooms with a lot of detail after seeing perfectly clean ones created a sense of disorientation, and for a few moments made me doubt about where I was.

Light Effects

Putting light into puzzles doesn’t mean they are easier.

Just looking at beautiful or ruined environments doesn’t make a game good, the music, the creation of sound to make you believe you’re in a real place is first-class. There are moments that seem in complete silence, but if you stop to listen, you’ll hear the room, nothing specific, but you’ll hear ambiance. Music often comes alive at the appropriate times, and the sound effects react really good in the rooms, so it never comes across as bland sound effects for the same switches.

Nowadays it seems to me that people prefer games that are long-lasting, but Q.U.B.E. doesn’t end when you finish the game, as there is a replay feature that includes Time Trial mode to test solving the puzzles as fast as you can. Also, there are hidden puzzles that take the mickey, as they are even harder and more creative then the standard puzzles, so look really good for them – it’s worth the trouble.

Setting up the atmosphere

Not everything is just about moving blocks.

In short words, if you like indie games and the puzzle genre, Q.U.B.E. is something that you should get, especially if you liked Portal. It has a good story, which becomes a little weak at the end, but that does not taint the  overall package, as the mechanics feel good and the atmosphere the game creates will probably blow your mind.

8 out of 10