No beating around the bush this time, let’s just start by saying I’m VERY glad I got this on sale for £4 because I still felt dissatisfied with what I received. I wasn’t expecting anything mind-blowing, just a decent length single-player puzzle game to mess around with between other games. The premise is simple enough: You’re trapped in a big ol’ cube in space with gloves which essentially act like TV remotes with less functionality. Press one button to interact/extend and the other to shorten. Solve the puzzles, progress, win. So far, so good, considering I just wanted some brain candy to blitz through.
In the earlier stages the cubes are set out for you, simply do your magic and the puzzle shall be beaten. But later on it expects more of you, by making you paint the shiny blocks in whatever colour you have available, then trying to work out how it all fits together. Again, this is fine. What isn’t fine though is when Q.U.B.E. starts introducing the “Push ‘X’ to the end!” puzzles. While the concept is fine, it’s the execution that suffers. Reason being that you have to pray to RNGesus that whatever it is you’re pushing doesn’t fly off of its own accord, land weird, or start to rotate. That is to say the physics are dreadful.
They often screwed up puzzle solutions, making me think I did something wrong, spending 10 minutes trying new things before finding out my original theory was correct. Square objects aren’t locked to a grid despite the aesthetic. They can be pushed different distances depending on how the game is feeling. This inconsistency might not seem too bad until you’re 95% through a puzzle, make the last move and the cube doesn’t perfectly line up so the game leans back casually and says “I guess you’ll have to hit that convenient RESET button over there!” which is supposed to exist for if you get the cube STUCK. Not SLIGHTLY misaligned. It’s just wasting your time.
Other times I’d abuse the physics in my favour, progressing the puzzle in a different way than intended in which case the metaphorical buzzer goes off and you get smacked in the face with the “NO” sign for thinking outside the box. It’s like Quantum Conundrum all over again. (That’s one I’ll have to rant about one day. That damn game.) For instance, while shifting the floor on a level, I also extended a block smacking the block I needed to move and it worked perfectly until suddenly the block was swallowed by ones I’d extended earlier. If the game didn’t intend on cheating me, I wouldn’t try and cheat back.
The game sometimes just does a good job of cocking-up on its own. Just for reference, this is the PS4 version. So maybe the port is just god-awful, but the game crashed SO many times. For seemingly no reason. The game is never stressed under intense performance or anything! Sometimes it just throws up its hands and decides you’ve played enough. “lolwhoopsimded” it says with a coy grin and a cocky shrug as you lose your progress once again. Hell, sometimes it just crashed by hitting START on the main menu! Well, technically “Options” now on DualShock 4 but c’mon, it’s the start button. The more I played, the more wound up I got.
There is a story to this game, but it’s paper thin and I lost interest pretty fast. I think the constant issues had a lot to do with that, but they didn’t need one so I guess I have to give them credit for that, adding a little flavour to the world. Though it’s kinda hit and miss. It’s spoon-fed to you in dialogue form over the course of the game, usually on INCREDIBLY SLOW elevators, so it has to be damn good otherwise it just drills in how long it’s taking. When I finally reached the end I was just glad it was over, as on the nose as the ending is. Despite all the issues, my playthrough still only lasted 3 hours and 30 minutes. Felt FAR longer though…