- + Puzzles are well-designed
- + Lovely colours
- - Feels like a poor man's Portal
Want to look beyond the score? Check out our full written review below…
*Q.U.B.E: Director’s Cut was provided to Start Replay on PS4 by Toxic Games
At first sight Q.U.B.E (Quick Understanding of Block Intrusion) seems very much like a Portal rip off, caught in the spirit of Thomas Was Alone. However, whilst the clean aesthetic, manipulation of your environment and low-key score bear a resemblance, its intentions are wholly different.
Firstly, there aren’t any portals for you to interact with, and instead of getting a gun to manipulate objects around you, you’re handed a pair of hi-tech gloves. These gloves allow you to interact with coloured cubes and other objects surrounding you. Through these gloves you will solve physics-based puzzles and compete in time-based challenges.
Each block has a colour type, which encompasses a different action: red blocks extend their length, blue act as a catapult once pushed down, yellow operate as steps and green as a simple block to reach higher areas. These are just the basics, and each section in the game introduces more mechanics, upping the ante in a multitude of ways. Your brain will be tested, so bear in mind that this isn’t something you simply saunter through.
With Q.U.B.E I was fortunate enough to experience the Director’s Cut, and that meant I was presented with a new narrative, better soundtrack and more levels. Graphically it doesn’t offer much, but as you progress your eyes will appreciate the evolution of its colour palette. Most of the time you’re navigating blank white spaces, built up by stacks of cubes. Again, this was very reminiscent of Valve’s Portal, but whereas in Portal where extremely witty writing lit things up, in Q.U.B.E it’s not quite the same.
For all its similarities to Valve’s immensely popular puzzler, Q.U.B.E does enough different to be its own thing. The more grounded puzzle approach is a refreshing change and as a result I’ve worked my brain like never before. There will be moments of joy, anger and pure frustration, but the reward of overcoming obstacles negates all the bad.
Consider this Portal 0.5, before the Portal gun and witty writing, but including a much more obvious puzzle approach. Move blocks and move forward!