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Publisher: Toxic Games Developer: Toxic Games Players: 1 Genre: Puzzle Launch Date: July 24th, 2015 Price: £7.99 First person physics based puzzle games seem to be all the rage right now on Xbox Ones indie platform with the likes of Nero and Pneuma, all offering something a little different to try to innovate on ideas. This time however we see Q.U.B.E step up to the plate to try to give us an experience that many will feel is similar to another well known game, but does the game offer enough diverse gameplay to warrant a purchase? Gameplay7/10 The game in question that Q.U.B.E seems to heavily inspire itself from is Valve’s Portal series, the whole objective and story to Q.U.B.E is you are a scientist that has been told he is locked inside a massive cube in outer space and you must solve room after room of cube based puzzles in order to break down outer walls from you’re impending tomb. The whole time you are puzzling away you are told two very different stories, from two different people one obviously telling the truth whilst the other tries to defy you and think twice about what you’re next move should be, it is essentially the same story from Portal then but with a different type of setting and a few extra twists. The game play are puzzles are laid like I previously mentioned in rooms, the idea of the puzzles is you get different brightly colored blocks that all perform different functions. Some blocks extend outwards which could make a simple extending walkway in early stages, but also prove to be pivotal in later room. You get bounce pads blocks that launch you or an object across a space. You even get blocks that can change parts of rooms and make you think a little more outside the box on how to form a challenge before you can attempt to defeat the puzzle.


Keeping it simple..
Using blocks isn’t the only mechanic the game has though the further you progress into the story, you will be met with various other types of challenges, some will involve guiding light from various sources to make certain colors which need to match a block of that color at the end of it’s path. Whilst other types of puzzles involve the using of the games physics, rolling balls downhill whilst changing rooms and mixing colors can sometimes prove to be challenging especially when the ball itself is on a timer. Fret not though if you have difficulty solving a puzzle many of the rooms in the game have retry switches which in turn will reset the puzzle so you can give it a fresh shot and have another think about the tactics that you have to use. The game play in itself is very simple, mixing in many different simple elements and combining them is what brings in the challenge to this game, however none of the puzzles themselves prove to be too frustrating or tricky and many can be solved by thinking outside of the box, pardon the pun. However there is one major issue I encountered whilst playing the Xbox One version of the title, sometimes when trying to align objects properly to solve a puzzle, the physics can sometimes start to wobble and launch objects into other areas of a room making it difficult to get it back to it’s starting position. If this happens in a room with no retry switch you are in for a rough time. If you beat the game you can attempt to take on the Beat the Qlock mode which sets you up with timed challenge rooms, the quicker you can get through each room in the better you’re score and the better the medal. You need a set amount of medals to unlock later levels, these can sometimes be a little frustrating but with enough practice they are mostly easy enough to learn and memorize.

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..difficulty however will soon start to rise
Graphics - 7/10 As soon as you start the game and you get into the first person view, you start to see how pretty this game’s engine really is, looking at the gloves and the textures shows high levels of polish, however the early rooms in the game all look rather bland. If you enjoy the color white you are going to no doubt be in for a treat, white walls literally line everywhere and only the main games puzzle blocks offer up elements of brightly colored fun. Each color has it’s own type of sizzle to make it stand out. This actually helps when you get to sections of the game where you are plunged into darkness and have to solve puzzles by the blocks light alone. As you progress and thinks start to break away or disrupt you get to see higher levels of detail but the color palette all around is still pretty vague. All in all though the game is pretty enough just more color wouldn’t of gone a miss. Sound - 7/10 Direct from the menu you are given ambient music to help soothe you’re mood before playing, whilst in the game though music cues are normally kept to a minimal in order to try to help you stay focused on the story. The main sound that comes from the game comes however from the voice actors who lend their voices to the story, being given two different sides of the story whilst one person sounds calm saying they are from the government and the other sounding scared saying he is also trapped and not to believe everything you are being told prove to be quite entertaining. These help set the mood and make you want to progress on and find out the conclusion of the story and who really was telling the truth. Bar for that the rest of the games music cues come in forms of footsteps on the ground and the different blocks having sound affects attached to them, or highlighting to you that either pulled or pushed a certain object.


Welcome to the dark side of the moon
Achievements - 7/10 Achievement wise you will gain the majority of the games achievements just from playing through the story and completing puzzles, if this sounds a little too easy for you though, you can try to go out of you’re way to find the secret rooms hidden within the game and completing beta puzzles. Other achievements in the game come from finding a picture of the developers in game and taking on the games timed mode called Beat the clock, if you earn enough stars you can play a certain level which you must complete without touching the ground, succeed and you will be rewarded for you’re efforts. The achievements really aren’t that difficult and most games will be able to attain them without too much grief. However I do feel more could have been done to pad out the list more, maybe adding step counters to the games puzzles akin to the Portal series, or solving puzzles in set numbers of moved or in various different arrays. Summary Q.U.B.E is a fun game, It won’t take you very long to beat however my initial playthrough clocked in at just under three hours. However issues with physics especially in some of the more trickier puzzles can leave you feeling furious, especially when you have to realign everything. The music and the tone mixed in with the decent story make this a game to try out. 70%
 

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