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Reviewed on: PC
Toxic Games
Publisher: Toxic Games
Rated: "E" for Everyone

CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

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User Rating:        6
Presentation: 6

It all seems so familiar, like we've done this before. Make no mistake about it, Q.U.B.E. is Portal without the witty writing, the personality or the attention to detail. Everything seems very clean -- but hey, at least the soundtrack is fitting.

Gameplay: 5

If you squint your eyes and try to make out portals, it feels just like Valve's remarkable title. To the game's credit, the puzzles themselves are quite challenging, though they do border on frustrating. The ending is worth sticking around for.

Lasting Appeal:

The puzzles are sure to keep you guessing for a little bit, but the latter half of the game is dotted by gimmicky and frustrating courses. Gamers who stick it out until the game's ending will be rewarded in excess.

Overall: 6
It would be easy to dismiss Q.U.B.E. as a simple Portal 2 clone because...well, that's what it is. There are however some redeeming qualities here, like the rewarding feeling you'll get when you finish some of the courses.
CHEATfactor: 6

It's inevitable. Whenever a game does really well, there's sure to be a string of copy-cat games. When Grand Theft Auto III changed how we look at action games, we got a string of open world crime games. When Doom changed shooters forever, a brand new genre was born. When Portal 2 became one of the finest puzzle games to ever release, all we could do was hope that the eventual clone would be even half as good.

It's not.

Q.U.B.E. from Toxic Games does a great job channeling the basic jist of Valve's unforgettable 2011 sequel, but fails to recreate its remarkable sense of style, incredible writing or attention to detail. To be fair, some of the puzzles are clever, but the rest of the game feels so lacking that it hardly makes up for it. You don't follow up something unforgettable with something that's just alright..just ask whoever followed Michael Jordan at forward for the Bulls after he retired.

"...never really grows into anything at all."


At this point in the review, you may be saying how it's unfair to compare an independent game like Q.U.B.E. to a major AAA game like Portal 2, but it's almost impossible not to. Just look at the game's opening -- much like Portal 2, you wake up in Q.U.B.E. in a sterile testing chamber like room with no clue where to go, but only one real path to take. It's really a remarkably familiar experience. Unlike Portal 2 however, you're not thrust into a remarkable story or met with memorable characters, Q.U.B.E. features no remarkable characters or story, in fact it doesn't feature any characters or story at all, there's hints at something going on, but it never really grows into anything at all. It's puzzles..all the time.

With Portal 2, you solved the game's puzzles with Portals, bet you can't guess how you do it in Q.U.B.E. You navigate through Q.U.B.E.'s chambers with color coordinated blocks. Red blocks can be expanded, yellow blocks can form stairs and blue blocks are essentially spring boards. It's a simple concept, but in the game's later stages it takes a drastic turn, and creates some awesome moments.

"...some remarkably frustrating moments."


That being said, the game also turns that simple concept into some remarkably frustrating moments. In the later levels of the game, the difficulty gets ratched up, and the blocks don't always seem to follow the rules they were governed by in the first few sections. In particular, the blue spring board blocks tend to mess up and make you fail more often than not. When they're combined with magnets and beams of light with different effects -- it can be so incredibly aggravating that you're unlikely to keep going.

So what does that leave us with? A strikingly familiar, yet ultimately disappointing puzzle game? That's what I thought, then the game ended, very abruptly, but with such a twist ending that it made sitting through the game's frustrations all seem worth it. Granted, this might be because the rest of the game was so incredibly bland that I was more amazed that there was some sense of personality, but I genuinely liked the way the game ended, even if it seemingly came abruptly.

Q.U.B.E. is not Portal 2. It never will be no matter how much it tries. It is however an interesting puzzler that can be entertaining enough to play through when everything works. It's just a shame that when copying everything else, the team at Toxic Games didn't bother to copy Valve's style and wit, because without it, Q.U.B.E. is eerily similar to its test chambers -- sterile, bland and boring. 



CHEATS USED: Steam Achievements

There's no real easy way to put this -- much of Q.U.B.E. feels unfinished, and as a result, there are several exploits you can use to finish puzzles and figure out scenarios. Finding these little glitches doesn't really feel cheap as it feels like a way you're merely beating the system.

More than anything though, I would love a debug mode for Q.U.B.E. I want a way that I can pick which blocks I have, which in essence I guess, would be like a level creator. A teleport option would help as well.



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