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Q.U.B.E. Director's Cut

Score: 78%
ESRB: Not Rated
Publisher: Grip Games
Developer: Toxic Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure/ Puzzle

Graphics & Sound:

Q.U.B.E. Director's Cut takes the 2011 indie game and adds a bit more polish to it in order to add additional personality to what was already an intriguing puzzle game.

The visuals of the Director's Cut stay close to the look of the original version. The clean and sterile feeling rooms that slowly get more damaged and dilapidated as the game proceeds help to add to the game's growing feel of off-ness that is only aided by the added voiceovers and remastered music.

Where the original version of Q.U.B.E. had you going through your trek in a quiet environment with no external interactions, the addition of two characters giving you opposing views of what is actually going on just helps to add to the surrealistic nature of the situation you find your character in. On the one side, you have your mission commander voiced by Rachel Robinson, and on the other hand, you have the occasional speakings of a person (Rupert Evans) trying to convince you that you aren't in a strange ship hurtling through space, but you are actually a lab rat in a strange experiment.


While Q.U.B.E. Director's Cut does add these voiceovers and, in turn, an actual story, the gameplay itself doesn't change from the original version.

Your character wakes up in a white room with odd gloves on. It doesn't take long before you figure out that these gloves let you manipulate a specific set of cubes in each of the rooms. These blocks, color coded for convenience, can be extended, arranged as a stair, act as a springboard, or even cause sections of the rooms to rotate. With these basic controls at your hands, you will have to make your way through the series of puzzles the strange environment throws at you.

While the puzzles start off simple, they gradually build up to more complex situations that require you to use combinations of different colored blocks, and even, at times, require you to have expert timing in making sure some falling objects hit their targets in just the right way and at just the right time in order to unlock the next room. Of course, that kind of gradual increase in difficulty is expected in a game like this, and while it does throw a few curve balls at the player, it never really ventures far from its core mechanics.

As mentioned above, the addition of the two voices adds a bit of mystery to the situation. As you make your way deeper into the Qube, you are told two opposing stories. One gives you hope that you are saving the Earth; the other is that you are being lied to and everything you do is pointless.

Q.U.B.E. Director's Cut also adds 10 additional speed run levels. These puzzles come with a timer and awards medals based on how fast you complete each challenge. The more medals you earn, the more challenges you unlock. These extra levels offered me a nice distraction when I found myself particularly frustrated by puzzles from the main story.


Q.U.B.E. Director's Cut's gradual increase in difficulty makes it a game that you can jump into and not realize quite how deeply down the rabbit hole you've gone until you glance back at your clock and realize the evening's all but gone. This happened to me the first time I booted the game up, and while I recognized that the game was slowly tweaking the puzzles it was throwing at me, it wasn't until I took that first break that I had a chance to reflect on how much the game changed. From simply setting up basic blocks to get me across the room, to more detailed puzzles involving machines that move in a single direction until they reach a wall, or magnetic plates that pull all loose blocks to one side of the room, to light-based puzzles that, quite frankly, lead to one of the more frustrating puzzles in the entire game, this game will run the gamut.

Before the adventure is over, you will not only find yourself juggling the use of the different colored blocks, but even having to decide which blocks go where and when the best time is to activate those blocks in order to hit your mark just right.

While Q.U.B.E. doesn't start off hard, it does build up to an almost frustrating point (actually, there was one puzzle that caused me to walk away from the game, but more on that later), but it is beatable.

Game Mechanics:

Q.U.B.E. Director's Cut is a physics-based puzzle game, and when when you develop a game like this, there are two categories that need to be gotten right. One is the physics. They have to be consistent and the player has to understand what the results of their actions will be. The other aspect is controls. Whatever is used to activate the game's primary mechanic has to be smooth and easy to use.

In the latter category, Q.U.B.E. is pretty spot on. Controls for activating or deactivating various blocks are simple and I rarely had issues with not activating exactly what I was hoping for, and typically the times I did have issues was while rushing through the timed events. Not only does Q.U.B.E. make it easy to manipulate the blocks, but the controls are simple enough to pick up and play right from the start.

When it comes to physics though, there are times when Q.U.B.E. seems to have a bit of trouble. Throughout the game, especially if there was a ball I was trying to get to a necessary location, there were points when the exact same action did not reproduce the same results. These were minor issues that I just chalked up to slightly different timing. That being said, there were several instances where pieces just didn't behave the way anyone would expect. In one particular puzzle, where four blocks need to be moved to just the right spot, I would often see one block decide to start skittering down the chamber as if something was pushing it. Each time this happened, I would have to reset the puzzle and try it again. While I did eventually get past this painful puzzle, each failed attempt was frustrating and I eventually had to walk away for some time in order to regroup and try again. But even with these sporadic physics issues, there was enough consistency to not hurt the gameplay too much.

Given the stark settings, the voices that you don't know if you can trust, and the bare bones mechanics, it's hard not to look at Q.U.B.E. and think about Portal. While, on the surface, the two games seem to share a lot, the fact that they each stay close to their core mechanic means that very mechanic being different helps to give the game a different feel when it comes to solving problems. As a result, it's easy to recommend Q.U.B.E. to those who enjoyed Portal, but I think it will also appeal to those puzzle gamers who didn't like the Portal Gun mechanic since this game poses a different set of puzzles to the player.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Related Links:

Microsoft Xbox One Rare Replay Sony PlayStation4 Abyss Odyssey: Extended Dream Edition

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated