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Q.U.B.E.: Director's Cut Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Inspired by Portal, Q.U.B.E. sees players manipulating cube-filled puzzles in order to escape the alien spaceship. This brand new director's cut offers new modes, music and a story full of voice acting. The compelling narrative is undermined by the bland location and brief run time. It may not reach the level of Portal, but Q.U.B.E.: Director's Cut will please fans of first-person puzzlers. Rating: 71%
Q.U.B.E.: Director's Cut
Q.U.B.E.: Director's Cut Q.U.B.E.: Director's Cut Q.U.B.E.: Director's Cut Q.U.B.E.: Director's Cut
  • Review Score:

  • B
The darkness of space can make a man go crazy. First your memories will fade and then the voices come flooding in. It doesn't even take that long, or so they say. This is the reality facing the hero of Q.U.B.E.: Director's Cut, the brand new first-person physics-based puzzler from Toxic Games. Stuck in an alien spaceship with no form of communication, this brave astronaut solves puzzles and hopes for the best. Even if he's lost track of all sense of sanity.

With no set-up or backstory, players are as clueless as the silent protagonist. He wakes up on a sterile ship made up entirely of white cubes. A woman on the radio conveys a troubling scenario where this unusual craft causes a space catastrophe. It's up to you to work through the many puzzles and save us all. Or so she says.

With little choice in the matter, we set out to solve a series of brain-teasers and find a way out of this ship. He does this with the help of a pair of special gloves that allow him to interact with the environment in convenient ways. He can pull out red cubes, bounce off of the blue and create stairs with yellow spaces. Later on, the confused astronaut will be able to rotate the level and manipulate the surroundings like never before.

Although the puzzle-solving device may be different, it's clear that Q.U.B.E. was inspired by Portal. Many of the rooms play out in a similar fashion, and the sterile testing chambers gave me flashbacks to GLADoS. And just like Valve's seminal release, this game goes off the rails in a unique, yet familiar, direction.

The astronaut may not be able to communicate, but he is getting information from the woman over the radio. There's also another voice that comes through from time to time. It's a man with some dire warnings, suggesting that the woman on the radio may have ulterior motives. These narrative moments are brief, but they are well written and always compelling. Furthermore, they are performed by two seasoned pros -- Rachel Robinson and Rupert Evans.

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I was happy to see that the game doesn't rely on its story to be compelling. Q.U.B.E. takes good concept and runs with it. There's never a point where the game spins its wheels; it's constantly throwing new concepts and obstacles at the player. Some of these have been seen before in other puzzlers, but the game offers enough unique ideas to keep the brief adventure fresh from beginning to end.

Just when you start to get bored with one type of obstacle, the game turns off the lights and forces you to problem solve in the dark. There are also a number of puzzles that have you manipulating rolling balls and using magnets to open locked doors. And even after the twist, the game is constantly coming up with new ways to test you.

Unfortunately, the compelling story and clever puzzles weren't enough to make up for the bland location. The clean look of the cubes is enticing at first, but quickly becomes repetitive. Things do pick up a bit in the second half, though I wish more was done to add color and variety to the alien ship. At least the visuals look sharp on the PlayStation 4.

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While the gameplay is simple, I did run into one nagging problem. For whatever reason, the action button is mapped to the left trigger. So, for example, pulling out a red cube is done by pressing the left trigger, while pushing it back in uses the right trigger. This is exactly reverse of what would normally get in video games, and it took me the better part of an hour to wrap my mind around it. In truth, I was still accidentally mixing up the two actions deep into the game.

Beyond the new music and story elements, this brand new Director's Cut offers a bunch of new speed run levels to play through. These small stages break down the puzzles to their essence and give players a time to beat. This may not add many hours to this otherwise brief adventure, but it's a nice addition for those looking for more puzzles to solve.

Even with the new story elements, Q.U.B.E.: Director's Cut is never as compelling as Portal. The bland locations lack personality and I had a hard time connecting with either of the voices in my head. It's also short, and there isn't much incentive to go back through once the credits roll. That said, the puzzles are well constructed and the set-up is certainly intriguing. Or maybe that's my space madness talking.
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