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    dkirschner's Q.U.B.E. 2 (PC)

    [November 21, 2023 05:31:47 PM]
    I've seen QUBE and QUBE 2 around the various store fronts for years and always wrote them off as Portal clones. Manipulate cubes (qubes?) in test chambers or some such. QUBE 2 was free on Epic a few weeks ago, so I grabbed it out of curiosity. It's pretty Portal-y, but not as Portal-y as I thought. That is to say, it looks similar and plays similar, but it's definitely its own thing. And it is a strong puzzle game!

    There's a vague, but intriguing (and really well voiced) sci-fi story about this sentience called QUBE (or something) that's taken over (or something) Earth, and tests humans to see if they can follow logic, understand the QUBE (it's like a sentient puzzle or something), and choose to either destroy it or learn from it, depending on whether they think it's a threat to humanity or not. I had to read about it after I finished, and some players did great work piecing the story together.

    So you are awakened by the QUBE (or just QUBE...I don't know if it needs "the" in front of it, but it is technically supposed to be an acronym--Q.U.B.E.--that I don't want to type) for testing purposes, though you are unaware of what is happening or why. In fact, you are made to believe that you have amnesia or something, but that you will remember what happened in time. There is another person on your comms who you talk to, and who sort of guides you through this QUBE facility thing. The game's tone is totally serious. Wheatley and GLaDOS these entities are not.

    You have glove technology that can manipulate the environment. You end up being able to switch between three colors of glove that do different things. Red creates a long block that you can extend; green creates a small detachable block; blue creates a little forcefield that bounces the green blocks. Other mechanics appear as you go on that let you spawn bowling balls, coat objects with oil, and set them on fire. Occasionally, you'll have to smash a cube into a door or use one to set a door on fire to proceed. You get push and pull magnets, have to place cubes on buttons, can "ride" the green cubes (fun), and occasionally will need to figure out how to launch yourself around. So, using combinations of these and a few other mechanics, you solve puzzles in rooms. Solving puzzles generates power, and you're usually trying to power something by solving a bunch of puzzle rooms, like an elevator or a generator, in order to progress.

    The puzzles are not terribly difficult, and I was hoping we'd get some really big ones, but they do present a thoughtful challenge. I was stumped a couple times toward the end and, I am ashamed to say, used a walkthrough for part of two rooms. BUT! That's only because when I previously exited the game in the middle of a series of rooms, it made me repeat them all, which was super annoying. And one of those that it made me repeat was tricky and I think I got lucky clicking around the first time. I didn't know what I did, but it wasn't the "correct" solution, and I couldn't replicate it. Thus, the first hint to just finish the room I'd already finished. Then, I was running out of time (i.e., I needed to turn off the game), but I didn't want to repeat all those rooms yet again, so I cheated on one to hurry up. I'm sure I would have gotten it!

    There is no teleportation like in Portal, but it nonetheless feels similar. At first I tried to compare it to Portal on every point, but like I said, it quickly became apparent that it is its own game. It's slick. It's got a neat story. It's got puzzles of solid difficulty and some novel mechanics. Oh, BUT! There is no "run" button. You walk agonizingly slowly, which was very annoying. This is a case of "the game would have been 10% shorter if I could run." I just started another game where you can't run, too. What's up with that? Why not include the ability to run? I'm still going to appreciate the puzzle rooms, probably even more since I won't be annoyed by having to trudge around the place!

    Anyway, I'm surprised at QUBE 2. I quite enjoyed it. The Epic version that I got for free came with two more DLC chapters, which I read adds a whopping 22 puzzle rooms and new mechanics to the game. I enjoyed playing, but I'm not sure the puzzles are enough to keep me interested for 22 more (probably hard) rooms' worth. I got the story, saw the sights, played the core game, and am satisfied. I'll leave it installed in case I do get an itch for more, but I have Portal Reloaded, Baba Is You, and probably more renowned puzzle games in my library that I'd rather play first.
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    dkirschner's Q.U.B.E. 2 (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Wednesday 15 November, 2023

    GameLog closed on: Tuesday 21 November, 2023

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Intriguing set-up, slick presentation, and thoughtful puzzles so far. -------- Thoroughly enjoyed it. I've got DLC if I want more rooms...

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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