Q.U.B.E 10th Anniversary


Worthy first-person puzzle game contender or just another Portal wannabe?


Okay, so Q.U.B.E. is one of those first-person puzzlers that looks a bit like the classic Portal games. The gameplay is rather different to Portal though, with no sci-fi grav gun that can pick things up and punch portals in walls. This 10th Anniversary facelift version of Q.U.B.E. boasts slick visuals and a smooth frame rate, and looks a lot like its sequel, which I played many years ago on Xbox One or PS4 because the original Q.U.B.E. never had a console release… Got that? Yeah I thought not.

You regain consciousness travelling down on an elevator in a strange, white tiled construction, and hear a radio transmission from a woman named Nowak. She tells you that you're an astronaut in a huge structure (the QUBE) that is hurtling toward Earth–which you get a glimpse of every now and then through various windows. If it hits it'll destroy the planet and it's your job to stop the QUBE by solving its many puzzles.

Planet Earth is visible through a window as you try and figure out a puzzle below.

Q.U.B.E. has a simpler yet even more brain-mangling mechanic than Portal that sees you manipulating various blocks and cubes with your special gloves in order to progress. Some cubes launch either you or other cubes, some just extend from the walls, some rotate entire sections of the walls, and some even change another cube's colour.

In Q.U.B.E you wear a very nice pair of gloves that give you special abilities...

When entering a new room your first task should be to figure out what you have to do in order to progress or open the exit door, and then actually think about how to manipulate the various cubes in order to achieve the required task. This could be moving various cubes to certain position, or using special reflecting cubes to bounce a laser or a sensor switch, or guiding a ball to a particular goal, or using a magnetic crane to manipulate blocks, or guiding a droid through a maze, or... The possibilities are literally endless, and only limited by the designers' imaginations, which fortunately are pretty wild.

Hmm... Lasers and prisms, here have we seen that idea before?

Gameplay has been revised from the original and even expands on Q.U.B.E. 2’s mechanics. Once you’ve actually figured out what you have to do everything is usually smooth, slow-ish and easy to control but sometimes when you have to turn or select or cancel a cube quickly you appreciate how much easier the game must be with a mouse & keyboard. Completing the story mode unlocks Section 8, a series of master levels that will test you to the limit–that is, if the story mode didn't do that already...

Near the end now, but have we saved the Earth?

I'm going to wrap the review up with a warning; as good as the game is, a lot of people have had problems with a thorny old issue: achievements not popping (me included). The developers are aware and presumably working on a fix, but if they're your 'thing' completing Q.U.B.E. 10th Anniversary for only 550 gamerpoints may leave you feeling cheated–even at a price of only £14.99. Therefore if you have Game Pass it might be and idea to try Q.U.B.E. 2 first and see how that goes.

Many thanks to Toxic Games and PressEngine for the review code