Review: Q.U.B.E: Director’s Cut

The main problem I have with Q.U.B.E. Directors Cut is how I’m supposed to address it. Is Qube okay? Or do I have to punctuate every letter? I’m just going to call it Qube if that’s okay. Saves time for everyone.

Developer: Toxic Games
Publisher: Toxic Games
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4
Also Available On: Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Wii U and PC
Release Date:  Available Now


Originally released in 2011 by Toxic Games this new version of Qube features a new story, new music and a time trial mode. The new story is where everything picks up. You wake up in a room made up of white cubes and an astronaut on the radio tells you you’ve been out for fifteen days. You have amnesia and the cube you are in is part of a much bigger cube that’s going to crash into the Earth and destroy all life unless you solve some physics puzzles. I never felt this kind of pressure playing Portal.

The story is underwhelming to say the least. It was added in for the directors cut so there is a disconnect between the narrative and the gameplay. The character has to have amnesia because otherwise the set up of the game would make no sense. So in order to add emotional involvement to a character with no memory, voice or personality, the astronaut reads you letters you have written yourself in order to try and gain these memories back. And these letters are painful to listen to. The letters describe inconceivable tragedies that have occurred to my former self in a desperate attempt to add emotional resonance to a game that doesn’t need it. I do not need my heartstrings tugged. I’m solving physics puzzles in sterile white chambers.

The stark visual style suits the gameplay perfectly.

The stark visual style suits the gameplay perfectly.

Gameplay wise Qube is actually a lot of fun. The levels are made up of white blocks with coloured blocks that have different uses. The yellow blocks form a sort of ramp, the blue blocks are springs and the purple blocks rotate whole parts of the room. The puzzle design is really good; the trial and error gameplay style really forcing you to learn how to use the different blocks in order to achieve your goal. The difficulty of the puzzles ramps up well but it has the same problem a lot of puzzle games do where the challenge becomes slightly too difficult in the late game.

The introduction of new mechanics works well too; later on in the game, you can place the coloured blocks in certain parts of the room taking the trial and error solutions even further. One of the games best sequences is where the cube goes dark and you can only illuminate one of the coloured blocks at a time, forcing you to plan out your solutions before you execute them.

The dark room puzzles are well designed and beautiful.

The dark room puzzles are well designed and beautiful.

The graphics are really good; the sparse style works well in creating the atmosphere and I have to praise them on their lighting which, whilst simple, really worked in making the cube feel strange and alien. The animation of the cube moving around you is also pretty spooky; it feels like it is breathing when the walls ripple and groan. The dark puzzles with the light blocks I mentioned earlier deserve particular praise: it was genuinely pretty unsettling and the glow of the blocks completely sold me on their lighting design. There were a few niggling graphical issues; the shadows of the hanging cables appear in weird places and the ruined parts of the cube feel more like the developers used a cookie cutter tool to remove certain pieces of wall.

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I have to mention the voice acting. It is good in the majority but there are certain moments that feel forced. There is one hilariously hammy moment near the end where you *SPOILER WARNING* get to talk to the President who the writers have tried so hard to make profound but just ends up being funny. ‘You have to believe in the possibility of good’ apparently.

The directors cut has also had time trial mode added in, which set alarm bells ringing at first (puzzle games are notorious for adding these in to pad out replay value) but actually ended up being quite fun. It is challenging without being frustrating; it adds in power ups that either make you faster or can use certain blocks or take shortcuts that really forces you to think on your feet.

Clever puzzles
Graphics are beautiful
Bland story
Occasionally dodgy voice acting

Qube’s wobbly story and a few rubbish moments from the voice actors won’t spoil your enjoyment of what is actually a very challenging and fun puzzle game.

Review copy provided by Toxic Games
Official Game Site

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