Q.U.B.E.: Director’s Cut is the updated multi-platform release of the 2011 PC game from developers Toxic Games.
It is a platform puzzle game where your character is faced with a series of block and shape style puzzles. Your character interacts with the puzzles and landscapes using a simple but effective push and pull mechanic. Varying inputs are identifiable by changing colours against the stark black and grey backgrounds. Progression through the game introduces new puzzle styles as well as more combinations of the different inputs found earlier.
Q.U.B.E.: Director’s Cut edition promises to improve upon the original through the addition of a new narrative, hidden puzzles and an independent time trial mode. Having not played the unedited form, my coverage will react to these features as part of the whole experience and not in comparison to what came before.
What I expect from puzzle games such as Q.U.B.E.: Director’s Cut is a simple, intellectual challenge that can be picked up and played in short spaces of time. This brief is largely met by the game. The interactive puzzles are interesting and engaging, the varying puzzle styles providing enough variety to stop the game from becoming boring although a slightly more challenging experience (particularly later in the game) would have been appreciated.
In terms of visuals there is very little the game does wrong though admittedly uniform shapes and a pair of gloves aren’t the most challenging designs to get right. The overall finish is clean and clear with some touches later in the game looking quite good in a cool lighting and square edges kind of way.
The controls are very simple and introduced clearly though the games opening. Generally they are also very accurate although the hyper critical may notice a slight reduction in this when some puzzles call for quick manoeuvres. This is particularly apparent in the magnetism sector of the game, where finding the solution is relatively easy but making everything behave as you want is less so.
The promo material makes a big deal of the new narrative and story that has been applied to the game. Personally I found it fragmented and rather brief, not adding a huge amount other than providing a slight impetus to continue playing.
The games most glaring weakness is the soundtrack; I feel this should have been much stronger for this type of game. Puzzle games should make you spend large periods of time searching for solutions and not actually doing too much in the game, poor background music therefore is very noticeable. As mentioned the narrative is thin so the majority of the three to four hours of gameplay is accompanied by a metronome sounding instrumental. The repetition of this beat is particularly frustrating during more challenging puzzles where tempers are already fraying.
Of the other improvements particular to this edition of the game the time trial mode is the best. The additional secret puzzles provide no rewards for completing them other than in game achievements which wasn’t enough to convince me they were worth my time. The time trial however is excellent, providing what the game sometimes lacks which is an incentive to play. It adds a competitive element with high scores and time boundaries. It probably should have been incorporated into the main game, the time spent traversing between sectors would certainly have been improved by making them a time trial.
Overall Q.U.B.E.: Director’s Cut was an enjoyable way of wasting a few hours which is exactly what I was hoping for. The controls and gameplay are generally excellent. The only significant negatives being the soundtrack and a slight lack of personality which explains my disinterest in completing the hidden puzzles – there was just no genuine reason to.
The game is definitely worth its purchase price if what you’re looking for is a solid little time waster. It is fun and certainly worth a play through even if it is best enjoyed on mute accompanied by a spotify playlist.
– Clean, clear visuals
– Fun, engaging gameplay
– Time trial adds enjoyable, competitive nature to puzzles
– Repetitive and uninspired soundtrack
– Ordinary narrative doesn’t encourage playing the game all the way through