Quick Understanding of Block Extrusion (or Q.U.B.E.) is a single-player, first-person, puzzle adventure game developed by Toxic Games.
Both games are compared to puzzle adventure legends Portal 1 & 2, but in reality, they only share the genre.
This review will have a storyline, gameplay, graphics & SFX and finally, a personal thoughts section. Without further ado:
Table of Contents
The two games, despite being sequels, have a completely different story, with different characters, and even different gameplay. The only common theme story wise is that Q.U.B.E. 2 comes after the events of Q.U.B.E. 1, but you don’t really understand that until the ending(s).
Q.U.B.E. 1 begins with you, the player, waking up in similar fashion to Portal 1. You notice a pair of strange gloves, and soon, you are contacted by Commander Nowak.
The Commander claims that you are an astronaut that was sent from the International Space Station abroad a mysterious cube-shaped vessel near the moon, which is also on a collision course with Earth. She also claims that you suffer amnesia, probably a side-effect of space traveling.
You were sent there with the purpose of deciphering the vessel, causing it to explode and avoid collision with earth. Without many options, you decide to move on.
You find out that your special suit can interact with various colored tiles inside the vessel, and you use this to advance. While you’re solving puzzles and moving on, all with the support of the Commander, you soon lose contact, and your transmission is interrupted.
Suddenly, another voice is heard from the transmitter, a man who calls himself 9-1-1. He tries to desperately warn you that the commander is lying about everything, and you are in fact, a lab-rat, trapped in an underground facility, forced to solve puzzles for data.
The game carries on with both persons trying to convince each is right, and unfortunately, there is only one ending in which one of them is right. That’s some wasted potential. However, you can find many threads where people argue who was right or wrong, even after the ending.
Q.U.B.E. 2 begins in a somewhat similar fashion. You are a female scientist named Emilia Cross, and you try to traverse some kind of ruins. Through the rest of the game, you solve fashions in manner, again, similar to the previous game all the while having the support from the mysterious Commander Emma Sutcliffe.
The game is more plot driven than the last, so I won’t spoil it too much, but this time there are 2 different endings to choose from, which are, in my opinion, a bit vague. You will also find out the game’s connection to the first game.
The 2 games differ a lot in gameplay between them (maybe due to the 6-year gap it took for the sequel to be released), with only the core gameplay remaining the same. Let’s begin from the original:
In Q.U.B.E. 1, you have a suit that basically has 2 actions; retract and extract. You will be traversing a mostly white tile facility, but in it, there are a few colored tiles you can use your suit on.
- Red Tiles are able to extract for up to 3 times depending on your needs.
- Blue Tiles are jump pads. Extracting them basically activates them.
- Yellow Tiles come in sets of three. You have to choose which one to extract, and depending on your choice, you gain different results. Generally, it creates sets of stairs.
- Green Tiles produce a green block or ball, which can be interacted with the other tiles. Usually, you will be using the green object as the key to the puzzle’s solution.
- Purple Tiles rotate a portion of a wall/floor (depending on the position).
All puzzles will be using some sort of combination of the above blocks. Later in the game, more elements will become available, such as gravity, AI movement manipulation, and light reflection.
If you get your hands on the Director’s Cut, you will also gain access to various speedrun challenges, as well as some extra story. The speedruns are a bit different than the original game, as you won’t be interacting with colored tiles that much.
Q.U.B.E. 2 changes quite drastically. Your suit now can interact with several special tiles, and it’s up to you which colored tile should you use to solve the puzzle. There are 3 colors to choose from: red, green, and blue, each with roughly the same function as the previous game.
As with the previous installment, there are many other things to interact with, like moving platforms and magnets among others.
Finally, about the SFX, again, I congratulate Toxic Games. The voice actors are amazing, and especially in 9-1-1’s case, you can really hear the desperation in his voice.
Q.U.B.E. 2 in specific has a lot of ambient sounds near statues, that are actually quite plot-relevant. Very polished in general.
The graphics in both games are amazing. It was developed using Unreal Engine after all. Especially the scenery in Q.U.B.E. 2. To be honest, the graphics look a lot like Portal’s graphics, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t any good!
The Q.U.B.E. series is, in my opinion, unfairly compared to the Portal games. Each game has its own distinct storyline and gameplay, and they don’t overlap. I don’t even get the comparisons, you can just play both sets of games and be a happier person.
The puzzles are challenging and will keep you on your edge. The story is immersive and with twists and turns. Even the mood of the game is generally quite eerie, which fits the story of a stranded person looking for a way out without any information.
General Rating: 8.5
Have you tried any of the Q.U.B.E. games? Did you like them? If you have any questions, suggestions, or just want to chat, feel free to leave a comment below.
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