Q.U.B.E: Director’s Cut – Wii U

Q.U.B.E: Director’s Cut is the new version of the original indie physics puzzle game Q.U.B.E., released on Steam in December 2011, containing more challenges, an expanded story and new levels including the Against the Qlock time trials.  It has been released on PC and more recently Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and finally to the Wii U.  We received a copy of the game for Wii U for this review.

QUBEMenuLogo_2

In Q.U.B.E, players take on the role of an amnesiac who has woken in a sterile white-tiled world with just a pair of high-tech gloves to his name.  Players receive one-way radio transmissions from a Commander Novak, aboard the International Space Station, who tells you that you are inside a giant alien cube on a collision course with Earth, and that you must work your way through the cube to disable it and save the world.

There is no tutorial, so you must figure out how each coloured cube works, then use them to solve the puzzle.  Cubes are activated with a press of the ZL button on the gamepad, or deactivated with a press of the ZR button.  In the case of a red cube, the ZL button extrudes the cube for a maximum of three spaces, while ZR retracts it again, while a blue cube works as a spring and is primed with a click of the ZL button.

QUBE Blue

As you advance through the puzzles, more block types and different mechanics appear.. green cubes that can be moved around, spheres that must be guided carefully through a hole in the wall, leading to lasers and rotating or magnetic walls.

QUBE Lasers

While the puzzles increase in difficulty as you work your way through them, they’re also really varied and clever, and very satisfying to figure out.

I can’t avoid the comparison with Portal, especially with the slowly decaying environment as the cube starts to break up.. but I think it’s a favourable comparison.  Challenging and varied puzzles, an interesting story, even the changing aesthetic mean the player’s interest is held.  The soundtrack is minimalist and fits perfectly.

Unfortunately, the Wii U version is let down by the controls.  No stick inversion.  No remapping option.  No stick sensitivity adjustments, and a base speed of movement that felt too slow.

When some of the puzzles require quick thinking or fast reflexes, the slow movement of sticks meant we were battling the controls as much as solving the puzzles.. and at times, having to reset puzzles because of being too slow or too inaccurate.  A larger target reticule may have helped to make up for the lack of accuracy caused by the difficulty in turning and aiming.

In particular the lack of an option to invert the Y axis made the game a frustrating experience for co-reviewer Jason, and he would not recommend the Wii U version with the controls as they are.

Our averaged score therefore reflects Jason’s disappointment and frustration with the controls (as someone who plays inverted sticks).  Those who play with a non-inverted Y-axis (like me) may not have the same level of annoyance with the controls – though customisation options would still be a very welcome improvement.

3/5

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