Thoughts on Q.U.B.E.?

This is a comment that I wrote that I wanted to share. I will be posting a comprehensive review in a little while. These were just some quick thoughts I had after completing both the original and director’s cut edition of the game.

I’ve had the game in my library for quite a while now and when I first got it (I believe I saw a video by Totalbiscuit which initially drew my interest), I did play for about an hour, clearing up to sector 5 but stopped there and didn’t touch it for quite a while. I recently started going through my library and saw qube. Seeing and remembering the debacle about the director’s cut, I decided to play it.

https://i1.wp.com/indie-fund.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/QUBE.jpg

While playing the director’s cut, there was quite a few things in the game that I didn’t remember the game having before. Namely, the voice overs. Which are, in my opinion, actually really well done. I quite liked it. The two characters were enjoyable and I liked what they added to the game despite my initial skepticism. While the story wasn’t something particularly “out of this world”, it kept me playing and interested to hear what was going to happen next. I didn’t like how it all ended (I hadn’t completed the original beforehand so I didn’t know what would happen) because it seemed to lead up to some grand conclusion but surprise, it wasn’t really anything at all. Which I guess, if it has any merit, it took me by surprise. After playing both games, I will say though, I massively preferred the silence of the original. Although people enjoy context of what’s going on, I don’t think it particularly worked in this case. I don’t know whether the story was made before or after the release of the original but it seems like it was created after. The story seems like it was just sort of shoved into the game, while it isn’t bad, it ruins some of the elements that made the original good. I liked the mystery, of not knowing. Of wondering, “why on earth am I in here and solving puzzles?”. Those elements are still present in the director’s cut but the narrative is misleading, intentional or not. As I don’t want to spoil the story for those who haven’t played (though I doubt anyone who hasn’t played would be reading this) I won’t go too far into the details.

There is one thing I have to complain about though, the player controls. Just a short criticism but I disliked that you are limited to about 1 click a second. Although it can introduce a bit more “strategy” to interacting with the puzzles, it was frustrating to miss occasionally and miss the timing window to solve the puzzle; this is especially frustrating as the later puzzles are more heavily dependent on timing windows. And missing isn’t something due having bad hand eye coordination or any sort of hardware issue. The aiming reticle is very small and precise, making (at least me) miss on more than one occasion when you have to move around either the character/player or the camera to get a proper view of what is going on. That said, I understand why the reticle is small. Simply because some of the clicks have to be precise. But I still wish they hadn’t limited the actions to that ~1 second delay.

The game is beautiful, to a certain degree. I don’t know why but I didn’t particularly get tired of the setting. It’s not particularly colourful or have some sort of impressive setpiece, but there was a charm to the game. I was constantly interested in seeing what the developers would think of for the arrangement of the cubes. I wasn’t to see what they could do next. But I feel like a lot more could have been done, not only with the game but the puzzles themselves. The introduction of the balls was interesting (the introduction, not the first puzzle utilizing them). The lasers were some of my favorite puzzles and I wish more was done to expand upon them. I quite disliked some of the magnet/physics based puzzles (just talking about the last two/one with the four cubes). It was just frustrating and unintuitive at times. Playing the director’s cut and the original, there are very few differences between them considering gameplay (there is the removal of one of the physics based puzzles). I don’t know how many more puzzles the developers would have in them but I really wanted to explore the place longer. It was really interesting crawling through the game. The question of “what is this?” kept me interested in going forward. That doesn’t necessarily mean I want to know what specifically the place is but I just wanted a longer experience. Again, the game just has some sort of charm that I loved. There’s nothing that particuarly makes me want to replay the game but the one playthrough, I feel, was enough to warrant the purchase.

As for the puzzles themselves, most of them are very well designed. I’d even say extraordinarily so. The game very nicely doles out it’s mechanics to the player, so there’s a nice learning curve. I believe the beginning to the middle (about sector 5) is probably the highlight of the entire game. The game is very slow and deliberate, akin to savoring a bite of some precious food. There isn’t any real action or moments that require quick thinking. It’s very much so, sit back, relax, think, act (although that could be said of almost any game).

If I remember correctly, the game had very heavy comparisons to Valve’s “Portal”. Which I don’t think holds merit other than both are heavy on a white coloured setting and both being puzzle games. These are two very different games and going in expecting a Portal clone would be a mistake. I think the Q.U.B.E is very unique in what it does, not necessarily the most original mechanics but a very nicely polished game in both aesthetics and gameplay which achieves something fun and interesting. I think what the developers created is what will probably be, not the highest on the list, on my favorite games. I really enjoyed myself and though I prefer the original, the director’s cut add’s an interesting narrarative that some will enjoy. But I do come across this problem, can I recommend it to others? That’s a hard thing to say. I quite enjoyed myself and on a sale, I’d probably recommend anyone who enjoys puzzles to pick it up. But for those people specifically and I don’t know many who do specifically enjoy puzzle games other than myself. A game like portal can be easily recommended because of it’s humor and more fast paced and potentially more interesting gameplay. Q.U.B.E. is not the most beautiful game and is of a genre that can infuriate a lot of people. So it’s difficult. While I enjoyed it, I recognize that not many will.

But I really enjoyed myself. I like the individual elements of the game and how they’re put together. I think the developer did a great job with this and really, I hope to see more from them. (There are some bugs but I did not encounter anything game breaking, just mildly annoying) Thank you both those who read this and the developers of the game for creating this.

Does anyone share or disagree of my opinion? I can’t seem to find any general consensus on the game so I was curious what others thought of it and wanted to give my own opinion.

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About MrCythos

I'm a physicist, learning to code, playing music. I think I've done my young self well.
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