First released at the end of 2011 on PC with a more definitive edition, The Director’s cut, was released back in 2014 on PC which added ten speed-run trial levels, an new original soundtrack, and Oculus Rift support on PC.
Developer: Grip Games, Toxic Games
Platform: XB1, PC, PS4
MonsterVine was supplied with a copy for review
QUBE mixes a mysterious story with a variety of colorful puzzles in a complex yet simple, monochromatic environment. The puzzles start out simple. Players manipulate blue, yellow and red colored cubes hand placed in a building full of cubes. Each of the colored cubes have its own characteristic that start out being used to help the player traverse to a room’s exit. The red cubes can be raised, the blue cubes activate jump pads and the yellow are in groups of three cubes that raise in a staircase. These puzzles are fun and strike a good balance of being just the right amount of difficult to where solving the puzzles are very satisfying.
From here new mechanics are added slowly and are explained strictly through their own design. No tutorials are present and sometimes I had trouble identifying the goal of an individual room. While the frustration was brief, it still took away any feeling of momentum I had and would leave a bad taste when moving on to the next puzzle. The first two-thirds of the game are all about introducing new mechanics and propelling the player to a certain area, to then proceed to the next room Unfortunately once all new mechanics are introduced the puzzles are less about lifting, launching, and jumping and more involved on moving a ball into a goal. I felt a bit of a disconnect between the game world when the puzzles shifted into these types of puzzles because a lot of the difficulty came in the form of precision timing.
The core game can be completed in a couple of different sessions, with time totaling in under 10 hours, even faster if you figure out the mechanics and don’t get stuck. QUBE is worth seeing to the end, and even though the story-telling is provided in short bursts of people talking at you, the mystery is compelling and acts as a good driving force to proceed to the end. There is also some potential replay value in a time trial mode if you are interested in perfecting puzzle solving skills or to start your speedrunner training.
The striking visual style pairs very well with the story telling. The silent protagonist awakes in a room where the walls, floors, ceilings are all made of white and gray cubes. These cubes transform and move in a variety of different ways to form staircases, elevator platforms and ultimately the base for all puzzles. The stark contrast between the white cubes and the colored cubes make identifying a puzzle simple, yet immersive.
The Final Word
It’s hard to talk about QUBE without mentioning the pivotal first-person puzzle game, Portal and while they do share similarities in aesthetics and storytelling style, QUBE stands up on its own. The sci-fi storyline is eerie and engaging enough to encourage players to keep pushing, even if the final tier of puzzles isn’t quite as good as the first two-thirds of the game. The Director’s cut of QUBE is the best version of the game, and a good time to replay it, solely for the added story content.
– MonsterVine Rating: 3.5 out of 5 – Fair