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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

Xbox One X
Nintendo Switch
PlayStation 4

Game Profile
Xbox One
Toxic Games
Toxic Games
GENRE: Puzzle
July 24, 2015
 Written by Stephen Varner  on July 25, 2015



At the beginning of Q.U.B.E. your character wakes up laying on an empty floor to the sound of a woman talking. First to somebody you can't hear off mic and then to you once she realizes you're still alive. Just like your character, you as the player have no idea where you are or why. As you come to and look around you'll see that you are in some sort of elevator and wearing a strange set of high tech looking gloves. As you move down the first hallway the woman over your intercom explains that you've been out for a couple weeks and may not remember where you are or why you're there. You may not even know who you are. As it turns out your amnesiatic player character is told that you're on some strange object set on a collision course with Earth and it is up to you, and only you to dismantle it from the inside. No pressure right?

The first thing I noticed with Q.U.B.E. was the distinct monochromatic look of the chambers you're in. Everything is very white and given that it's made entirely out of blocks it is by nature all very squared off. Other than the colored pieces of each chambers' specific puzzle elements that look doesn't change throughout the course of the game. While the lighting will occasionally change and the environment will become increasingly dilapidated the actual structure and tone of the environments are consistently basic and uninteresting to look at. That said, it's not beautiful or interesting environments that kept me interested in Q.U.B.E. It was mostly just the puzzles.


Q.U.B.E. stands for Quick Understanding of Block Extrusions. It's a pretty good summary of what you'll be doing throughout the game as you're taught how to use a series of differently behaving blocks that are identified by a given color to get to the exit of each puzzle room. There is no tutorial per se, but rather a series of rooms in the first part of the game to teach you how each type of block works and then how they combine and interact to create a nice ramping difficulty of increasingly complex puzzle chambers to solve. Everything boils down to some sort of sequential reasoning puzzle reasoning puzzle and they get more interesting as other objects are introduced into the mix. One stand out puzzle tasked me with changing the color of a ball as it rolled down a hallway. There were three different color coded holes for it to fall into that would unlock the next door once I completed my task. The ball would only fall into those holes if I had rolled it through a series of phased out colored blocks that were placed in different places all the way down the incline. The catch was that I had no direct control over the ball but rather had to manipulate its trajectory using blocks within the walls and floor to navigate it around pitfalls and through the phased blocks required. This became more interesting as you had to roll it through multiple colors in order to get the color required for the lock. Is the lock purple? Better figure out how to manipulate it to roll it through both the blue and red phased blocks by the time it gets to the bottom. The puzzles are good for the most part and fun to solve. While they get increasingly complex over time only a couple left me scratching my head for more than a few minutes.

Mileage may vary for players based solely on how quickly they're able to solve and execute each of the puzzles. Most should be able to finish the game in under 3 or 4 hours though without getting too hung up on more than a couple of the rooms. There is a time trial mode that presents some new rooms and power ups that will help you get the best time if you want to compete for leaderboard spots but there is not much else to do once you've played through the campaign. While the story itself is paper thin I found that the two characters that speak to you between puzzles giving conflicting accounts of what's actually going on kept me curious enough about the truth to keep going. So it was nice to have a reason to keep going other than just wanting to see the next puzzle. The unfortunate thing is that most of the time you're really just in a void. There is no music and little to no ambient sounds other than those intermittent transmissions from the two mysterious characters trying to convince you of the truth behind why you're solving these puzzles. The biggest reason they stand out I think is because there's literally nothing else to listen to over the course of the game. There's no hilariously homicidal AI bent on your destruction to offer up the kind of character and entertainment such as in the game that so obviously serves as at least partial inspiration to Q.U.B.E.

Toxic Games' first person puzzler is a fine set of sequential reasoning puzzles that are presented to you in only the most straightforward way. The environment is uninteresting to look at and devoid of personality and the two voices vying for your attention and co-operation only get it by virtue of being literally the only thing you'll hear over the course of the game. The puzzles are pretty good and I found solving them was fun but without any interesting story elements or characters to revisit there's not much reason to go back to Q.U.B.E. once you're done.

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