First-person puzzlers are fairly uncommon in the indie gaming realm so find out if QUBE 2 can scratch your itch to solve clever puzzles.
In Q.U.B.E. 2, you play as Amelia Cross, an amnesia-struck scientist who finds herself stranded in a massive structure that doesn't appear to be man-made. Using a communicator, she's able to contact a woman named Emma Sutcliffe who gives her a few more details about her whereabouts and explains how to use the powerful object manipulation gloves that she is wearing.
Using these gloves, Amelia can create orange, blue, and green blocks at interactive white panels. Each color has its own unique ability: blue functions as a springboard of sorts and sends Amelia and other objects flying, orange functions mostly as a platform creation tool that Amelia can pull out from the wall and jump on, and green creates a single cube that is removed from the wall and can be used to stand on, ride, and more. These three colorful abilities are pretty much Amelia's only hope to escape her bizarre, mazelike prison. Each of the 80+ puzzle rooms will require you to combine these abilities to find a solution to escape the room or access a terminal that must be powered on.
Q.U.B.E. 2's difficulty curve increases gradually, making the campaign feel slow in the early going. Most of the time, you can't have more than one active panel for each color which removes a layer of complexity simply because you know that each coloured panel has to go in a certain place. Then, you can solve the rest of the puzzle via process of elimination.
I found myself quickly solving the early puzzles and blasting through rooms with minimal engagement. However, the final quarter of the game ramps up the challenge with some brain teasers that will really get you thinking. There are a surprising amount of new mechanics introduced as you progress, including setting cubes on fire, flying through the air via powerful fans, and covering cubes and objects with oil so they'll slide across the room. Early on, these mechanics mostly just incorporate basic puzzle patterns with a single added gimmick but as I said, the last quarter of the campaign expands on these mechanics and adds a deeper layer to puzzle solving.
Visually, Q.U.B.E. 2 is a fairly big departure from its predecessor. The original game took place in a very sterile, white environment. Q.U.B.E. 2 instead takes place in many different locations, all of which have quite a lot of detail and an appealing style. However, the narrative didn't click with me at all and neither Amelia nor Emma were particularly likable or interesting characters.
Finally, I recall that Q.U.B.E. Director's Cut contained several timed challenge rooms that blended puzzle solving with speed and accuracy. Unfortunately, this sequel doesn't have anything like that. In fact, it doesn't provide any replay incentives once you complete the campaign which should take about five to seven hours depending on your skills as a puzzle solver.
I had a good time with Q.U.B.E. 2, especially during the final couple hours of gameplay. Although the unappealing storyline and lack of additional content are substantial drawbacks, the core puzzle-solving experience is still quite a joy to play.
- + Clever puzzles with a gradual learning curve
- + Lots of environmental mechanics are slowly added as you progress
- + Excellent graphics for a puzzle game
- - Starts slowly and a bit too easily
- - Uninteresting storyline
- - Minimal replay value