Toxic Games‘ first-person puzzle adventure Q.U.B.E. 2 might look a bit like Portal, but it’s an entirely different beast.
The original Q.U.B.E. was released in 2011, with The Director’s Cut following 3 years later, so it’s a rather long time for a sequel to materialize. Having started as a student project and then published with the help of the Indie Fund, the developer always knew that a quality product couldn’t be rushed. Unfortunately I haven’t played it yet, probably because so many physics-based puzzler crowded the indie gaming space, even though I heard quite a lot of good things about the physics-based puzzler that puts the player through various tasks on an alien spaceship on a collision course towards Earth. Only by using special gloves that can manipulate the environment is it possible to achieve this goal, a gameplay mechanic that, together with the game’s contemplative sci-fi story, has carried over to the sequel.
Playing as Amelia Cross, a stranded archaeologist who wakes up on an alien planet, one has to traverse cube-shaped rooms and find out what the structure’s and her purpose is. Communicating with another survivor, Commander Emma Sutcliffe, she has to overcome the puzzles each room presents and escape the desolate planet. The conundrums can only be solved by pushing and pulling blocks of various shapes and colors, so despite similarities in art direction and some atmospheric cues, this is a much different affair than what the more lighthearted Portal games offer. As far as I can tell, the game has a very brooding atmosphere due in no small part to a great sci-fi ambient soundtrack and some nice visual effects that play with the protagonist’s perception of reality. It remains to be seen how engaging the story line is and if the 80 puzzles one has to solve are varied enough to keep the player entertained. But from the first looks and sounds of it, it makes me quite curious about playing the original and then this one, although it will probably mean taking many breaks because of motion sickness…
The game is now available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One with a 20% launch discount that will last until March 20, 5pm UTC. The soundtrack and a season pass can be bought separately, although they’re only available on Steam. It also poses the question if the upcoming puzzle packs will have any impact on the story or just offer more of the same puzzles in different rooms.
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