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Review: Q.U.B.E. 2 (Xbox One)By Ninjadillo At 05.08.2018 19:11

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Although plot elements from the first title become relevant in this one, the story in Q.U.B.E. 2 is still simple enough for newcomers to get into. Waking up with amnesia in a cold, mysterious environment, players must make their way through to try and uncover the truth behind this strange place. There are objects to interact with, such as magnetic surfaces, rolling orbs, movable walls, and so on, but the main gameplay lies in the gloves worn.

These special gloves allow a variety of crucial functions to be performed, such as placing bounce pads, creating blocky platforms that can be extended in and out, and eventually the ability to place green cubes down, as well. Each room will contain specific square blocks that the gloves can be used on, and you can switch between what the gloves will do for any square that can be affected, so a large part of the challenge is finding out what you are supposed to create with the gloves in which space, as well as what order it is done in.

One puzzle, for example, may involve creating a bounce pad on a propped up block, and then making a green cube directly above it, causing the cube to fall down and bounce off of the bounce pad onto a pressure plate to open a door. At first, the fact that you can only use the gloves on a limited number of spaces may give the impression that the puzzles are too simple, but this isn't the case - at least, once reaching a certain point in the game, that is.

Q.U.B.E. 2 can get incredibly tricky later on, but it has a noticeably slow start. It's understandable to not want to put pressure on people too quickly, but the first half is mostly mindless. Once reaching the halfway point, though, it ramps up fast, as all the mechanics start connecting together in clever ways, while making sure to add in new elements even down to the finale.

It deserves to be praised how often Q.U.B.E. 2 mixes things up. There's always something to look forward to with each chapter, as the complexity of the interconnecting systems keeps increasing. Despite how easy everything starts out, the amount of variables to keep track of gets almost absurd later on, and in a good way. Some levels feel like Rube Goldberg machines, and there's a great gameplay twist towards the end that completely revitalises the feeling of variety.

It really does feel cathartic figuring out some of the more brutal puzzles. Mastering some of the more complicated mechanics can be tough to do, and it just keeps getting tougher and tougher as these elements intertwine with other mechanics, which continuously gives everything new context. Again, it should be stated just how strong the final chapters are, as you are tested on every single thing learned so far, and players are required to keep getting more creative.

One issue that crops up from time to time is certain elements feeling a bit unintuitive, though. Although it's appreciated that new mechanics are introduced organically, without a bombardment of tutorials, from time to time (mainly towards the end) it's not always clear how some of the more precise parts of these aspects work, specifically when interacting with other objects. This isn't too big of a deal, though, since it's only a problem the first time you get introduced to a mechanic, and this issue doesn't even apply to most mechanics anyway, but it's worth pointing out.

As for beyond the gameplay, everything else is mostly solid; there's some atmospheric music, great visuals (even if aesthetically repetitive for the first few chapters), and well done voice acting, as well. The story does a few interesting things towards the end, although it ends up being a bit unsatisfying when all is said and done. The main appeal of the game is the puzzle element anyway, and although this game isn't that long - roughly seven hours depending on how quickly you figure things out - it doesn't feel too short, either.

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Final Score
[i]Q.U.B.E. 2[/i] is an interesting puzzler with tight mechanics that do a great job at challenging gamers, especially later on. It consistently introduces new elements that add a new aspect of strategy, and these elements cohesively build on top of each other, making for some delightfully satisfying and varied levels. It's a shame that the first half of the game is a bit of a slog, but even then this is still a very solid puzzler that any fan of this genre should consider.

7

/10

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