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Q.U.B.E (Xbox) ~ Throwback Review!

Q.U.B.E or "Quick Understanding of Block Extrusion" Director's Cut is a physics based puzzle game developed and published by Toxic Games. Q.U.B.E had already been released in 2012 so there is a chance that you have already heard of or played it already. On the other hand, if you rarely notice anything outside of Xbox and you don't know anything about Q.U.B.E then let me tell you this; you're in for a real treat!



Prior to actually playing Q.U.B.E I read that it was very similar to Portal. I actually haven't played much of Portal (maybe ten minutes or so) and it was a long while ago so can barely recall playing it which means I can give you an unbiased review with some of my favourite screenshots to illustrate!



First thing is first, I have children so I tend to keep the volume down on the TV and as a result of growing up with hearing issues, when playing games I immediately search for the option to turn subtitles on just so I can read along with what I'm hearing- trust me, it helps. So as soon as I started Q.U.B.E I had a look for the option to turn subtitles on and was deeply disappointed to find out that this isn't an option in the game. I faced having to either turn the TV up loud enough to drown out any noise from the children and the other half's xbox or play the game without any immersion. If you have never tried it, the next game you play- turn off the sound and subtitles and see how you go! I bet you'll get bored and have absolutely no satisfaction from playing. Well, I did turn the volume up and asked the other half a few hundred times "What did they say?"  just for this review so here goes!



You begin in a bright white room with a voice talking to you. You are stranded "somewhere far away" and at first the voice doesn't really explain very much, other than the fact that you are an astronaut and that they (the voice) will be coming and going due to loss of signal. I wont spoil the rest of the story for you! Playing through the game I did get a little lonely so when the voice came back round I appreciated the company and listened to them before proceeding through the levels. I was quite shocked at just how much atmosphere there was from just one colour. I felt quite trapped and even panicked a little because I had no idea what to do next! This game doesn't spoon-feed you which is actually pretty refreshing! I can't remember the last time I wasn't forced through a tutorial. The voice fades out and you're left to get on with it until they return.



Soon enough I enter another room and the puzzles begin! Different colour blocks signal different block abilities for example: blue cubes are bouncy, yellow can be used as stairs, etc. It all starts off fairly simple, allowing you to get used to each of the different "moves" but gradually the puzzles increase with difficulty. More and more thought is required and I find myself absolutely baffled by how I'm supposed to do what they want! There were moments when I needed to take a break and come back to it, there is only so long I can stare at the screen completely dumbfounded! On return to the puzzle I tend to blitz straight through it. If I stil can't figure it out then it is time to seek advice from the other half! The puzzles are increasingly more challenging but not impossible if you think logically or in my case, keep pressing cubes until something happens! There are hidden puzzles, too which is fantastic as it prevents you from literally going from room to room without having a look around at all the different shades of white to see if there's a way through. Thankfully, if you do miss out on a hidden puzzle you can choose which sector you'd like to revisit from the main menu!

So there I was, making pretty good progress through the puzzles then suddenly I start a new sector (I wont spoil it by telling you which one!) and the lights go out! I am literally in pitch black- honestly, I have never panicked so much in my life! It really did change everything, I could barely see anything apart from the colour cubes. It is an extremely unsettling feeling stumbling around in the dark (atleast, that's how it felt!) and it certainly slowed down my progress. You get so used to the continuous white rooms that the sudden change has a huge impact.



There is an against the clock mode, which does bring a nice change to the story mode and also gives you reason to come back and play this after you've completed the story. You have to navigate your way through the levels (there are 10 in total) in a quick time but of course, in the right way- which is tougher than it sounds. There are powerups in the level which can boost you or in my case hinder you because you sit there and wait for it to come back round, losing me precious time.



All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed playing Q.U.B.E! There are no other puzzle games on the Xbox One quite like this. The voice acting is done very well and I really enjoyed the story to it- it certainly makes you think- the ending took me a little while to process. The controls are simple and the puzzles are challenging enough to keep you busy. There are 7 sectors which could be interpreted as a short game but it really isn't; unless of course, you are sat playing this with a walkthrough or are an absolute genius! If they could somehow implement a subtitle option then I would literally have nothing bad to say about it but the lack of subtitles really lets it down for me however, that may not necessarily be an issue for anyone else. Let me know what you think!

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