Q.U.B.E. was a game I initially played a good few years ago now. I don’t fully remember it that well or even what I liked about it. Saying that, I found myself drawn to playing the 10th Anniversary edition when I saw the email about it drop into my inbox. I don’t have much affinity towards puzzle games outside of the obvious Portal and Portal 2 yet the trailer alone for Q.U.B.E. had me dying to try this updated version. I’m happy to say it’s probably one of my best gaming experiences this year.
Let’s get one thing out of the way. I’m useless at puzzle games. So take my opinion on the game’s puzzles with a grain of salt if you’re looking for a super in-depth review on the puzzle elements of Q.U.B.E. To most players you’ll find a sense of familiarity with Q.U.B.E.‘s presentation and puzzle layout. I could spend all day making both visual and gameplay comparisons to the Portal series but honestly, I think that does a disservice to Toxic Games‘ title. What I’d rather focus on is the amazing accessibility of puzzles. No level seems excruciatingly more difficult that the previous one. Later levels are obviously more difficult than the first or second level if you just dropped a newcomer into them. However, what Q.U.B.E. does fantastically is gradually raise the complexity meter of each puzzle until you can’t separate the feeling of difficulty you had in the first few levels from the feeling of difficulty you experience in later levels. Through the gradual implementation of new gameplay mechanics and blocks, you constantly feel like you’re learning something new and the dopamine rush you get from solving a puzzle with these new elements is utterly amazing. Whereas in previous puzzle games I would find myself looking up the answer if it wasn’t obvious to me, I never once felt the urge to spoil the experience in Q.U.B.E. as the answer was usually only one or two attempts away. Just as soon as you feel like you’re getting bored of a certain style of puzzle Q.U.B.E. gets rid of one style for another. There aren’t any noticeable gameplay problems that I ran into.
Q.U.B.E.‘s story is interesting and it’s something I intend to dive a lot more into in the coming days. Each snippet of the story has you asking questions and wondering if you’re doing the right thing in each section. I don’t want to spoil anything so I won’t talk too much more about it as it’s worth experiencing first-hand. The voice acting is stellar and adds life to what you’re doing. On the flip side if you’re just here for puzzles you’re able to completely bypass all story elements and just test your skills for a few hours.
It cannot be overstated how amazing the game looks in comparison to its 2012 counterpart. For the time Q.U.B.E.‘s 2012 release wasn’t bad looking. However, when you put both games side by side it’s near impossible to go back to the original in the same way (see video below). The upgrade to Unreal Engine 4 is definitely noticeable and somehow adds so much personality to what are really just cubes. Alongside this, when travelling from section to section in story mode each area provided visual elements that heightened my intrigue in the story and where I was. Alongside the gameplay, this kept me enthralled throughout my entire playtime.
Q.U.B.E. 10th Anniversary is everything I didn’t know I wanted. Fun and interesting puzzles mixed with a compelling story and characters. Q.U.B.E. also comes with developer commentary which I intend on checking out as soon as I can because I’m utterly in love with what I’ve just experienced. Q.U.B.E. has been my best gaming experience so far this year hands down.
Q.U.B.E. 10th Anniversary (PC): Q.U.B.E. 10th Anniversary is everything I didn't know I wanted. Fun and interesting puzzles mixed with a compelling story and characters. Q.U.B.E. also comes with developer commentary which I intend on checking out as soon as I can because I'm utterly in love with what I've just experienced. Q.U.B.E. has been my best gaming experience so far this year hands down. – odhranjohnson
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Reviewed on: PC
Developer: Toxic Games
Publisher: Toxic Games