Puzzle games have to make up at least 50% of my top 10 games list. I play them on console, on PC, on my tablet, even on my phone. The other 50% of my favourite games probably involve puzzles in them somewhere as well, like God of War or Tomb Raider. There is something about that click when everything just makes sense in your mind that just makes me the happiest I can be. My top rated game of all time is The Witness, the only game I have actually given 10/10 for. So when I found a relatively unknown puzzle game called Q.U.B.E from a little indie developer called Toxic Games come in a random bundle I had bought, I was pretty excited. Launched back in 2014 I had a few expectations of less than amazing graphics or dated puzzles, but what I found was certainly a new addition to my top puzzles games list.
For me, puzzle games have to give something new. It has to be something different. If you give me brilliant atmosphere, wonderful story and flawless graphics but make the whole game about doing Sudoku puzzles the whole time then I am going to get bored of it very quickly. Then I may as well just watch a good movie while holding a crossword book. Legends like Portal have very unique mechanics, while The Talos Principle brings moral and ethical debates which add to the story as well as the puzzles (which are already fantastic). Q.U.B.E has a great mechanics system that I really enjoyed, as well as a great mystery atmosphere throughout the game.
As with so many puzzle games, you wake up in a room with no recollection of the previous events. All you have is a disembodied voice telling you that you are in space and inside a giant machine called the Cube, which needs to be destroyed. That’s where you come in. Somehow solving puzzles inside this thing will rip it apart and save the world. Kind of a wishy-washy premise, but I have heard similar if not worse. The puzzles consist of different coloured blocks which you can manipulate. Red is a standard block which you can adjust the length of. Blue gives you a spring pad, green generates a movable block. Pretty easy to grasp concepts, but its the interaction between them that gets challenging.
As you progress through the game, another voice joins the party. A man, claiming to know the truth. A truth that completely contradicts what the woman has been telling you the whole time. That you are not in space. That you aren’t saving the world. The whole game is deeply shrouded in mystery, and it just builds as you move through. Each of the puzzles gets more complex, and the style of the puzzles changes constantly. Until the very end you need to develop new tricks, find new patterns and the game remains interesting until the last few moments when you have to choose which of the voices to believe. Unfortunately you don’t really have a choice and you just need to keep going through the linear story and watch the final cinematic, which is probably the only real complaint I have with the game. With such an intense story development and exciting build to the conclusion, I think it could really have become a legend among the greats if only it allowed you a little more freedom in your movements and choices. Sure there are a few little hidden puzzles to find and complete, but these are more for achievements than anything else. They add nothing to the story and you end up back on the original single track railway that you were on beforehand.
Considering my only complaint though is that my game was a little short and the story was very exciting but not completely engaging, I definitely still see this as a game worth playing. With it being old as well you can pick the game up for a really good price, just around $6 and that’s without a sale. Certainly worth the cash and few hours of your time. There is also plenty of added content, speed runs and DLC for you to play through, all which comes free in the Director’s Cut. Oh I also didn’t mention the best part. The whole game is VR compatible, so if you are lucky enough to own a VR headset this is definitely a game worth having in your library.