The First Person Puzzler –
Obviously inspired by Portal, Q.U.B.E. Director’s Cut is a first person shooter without the shooting. Instead, players manipulate cubes, or Qubes in this case (which stands for Quick Understanding of Block Extrusion), to solve puzzles and ultimately get from Point A to Point B.
This puzzle platformer lets the player figure out the gameplay mechanics through experimentation as opposed to a grindy opening tutorial. Just watch my stream below as I figure everything out for the first time without excessive prompts or handholding. This refreshing take on gameplay explanation is filled with “ah-ha” moments as the player learns how each colored block can be manipulated.
Unfortunately, Q.U.B.E suffers from painful stereotypical gameplay troupes. Starting the quest in a strange place with a severe case of amnesia? Check. You’re the only one that can stop an impending doom of a planet? Check. Have someone conveniently narrating your progression through a radio in your ear? Check. While a “save the planet” plot line strings together each room, it ultimately takes a back seat to the environmental puzzle based gameplay.
The player is basically a floating pair of gloves that have the ability to talk to colored blocks in the environment. Each room looks like it was taken from a padded insane asylum, covered in white washed tiles. What stand out are the colored blocks. The trigger buttons push, pull, or active these colored tiles so playcontrol remains simple but it is up to the player to figure out how each colored brick actually works. For example, the trampoline blocks are easy to understand but it took me a moment to realize how the stacking of the yellow blocks worked. Once these rules are established, the player starts to see the draw of Q.U.B.E. – active these colored blocks to solve individual room-based puzzles. Sometimes the player will need to figure out how to reach a high ledge, for example, or will need to guide a ball like a Rube Goldberg machine. The narrative only takes a few hours to complete but the Director Cut extras offer addition content if players are so inclined even though this extra stuff is more of the same just with an annoying time limit.
Q.U.B.E. would not be the game that it is without its visual aesthetic. Since it relies so heavily on having each colored block stand out from the rest, this downloadable title deserves credit for its thoughtful design. It is a little strange to play an FPS without actually shooting anything but stands on its own for its unique environmental based storytelling and quirky puzzle solving. Outside of the newly included time trial mode, this title takes on a casual approach as there is no time limit, no way to “die” and each room makes it easy to start over with an in-game reset button. It isn’t the best puzzle game or FPS on the market but is worth your time if you are looking for something a little different.
Not As Cool As: using the NES Power Glove
Better Than: being in an insane asylum
Also Try: Donkey Kong ’94 (Gameboy on 3DS Virtual Console)
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com