This is my first review so please feel free to provide any feedback you feel could benefit me on my reviews going forward.
Q.U.B.E. 2 is a satisfying experience that leaves you with a sense of accomplishment for completing the many puzzles and is also entwined with a solid story relative to most others in this genre.Story
You begin as a woman suddenly standing confused on a red, stormy and dusty terrain who seems to know as much about what is going on as you do. After some brief dialogue the screen blackens to the title as the character passes out and awakens within a facility. This is when your journey begins as Amelia (Milly) Cross, a displaced scientist trying to make sense of your surroundings and find your way back home guided only by another survivor, Emma Sutcliffe, via walkie talkie. The concept is simple, progress room by room solving increasingly more difficult puzzles in hopes the end of the path leads to salvation. At the end of this path, however, lies a choice. Will the knowledge you've accumulated along this trek influence the decision you must make?Gameplay
The movement in this game is fluid, if not tediously slow at times, and gives a strong sense of control when performing pinpoint accurate tasks. There will be times you will be yelling at Milly to act like a human and just grab the ledge or jump with some effort, but these limitations serve to force the player to utilize the puzzles, not their platforming skills. The first few rooms of each section serve as a tutorial of elements to expect in puzzles going forward. These puzzles will have many types of moving components that all center around the three powers you will unlock and are able to manipulate within the white squares along the way. The first is a blue power that will transform the square to a launch pad which will fling objects, as well as yourself, in the direction it's facing. The second is a red power which will transform the square to a block that can be extended to serve as a lift, bridge, or whatever else the situation calls for. The third is a green power which will generate a single green cube from where this square is placed. Using these components and the machinations around you, the goal is simply to reach a specific point within each room or the door that leads to the following room. The puzzles themselves are well designed and executed on a high level so that the right way
is 95% of the time the only way
. There were perhaps one or two puzzles that I solved in a way that didn't seem to be the designers' intent but otherwise the answers are always laid out in a manner that ranges from the simple to the extravagant but that click in a way similar to a Rube Goldberg machine.Difficulty
I personally felt that the game held your hand a little too much and didn't challenge me in the slightest until about halfway through the story. At this point, each room gradually increased in difficulty. There were only three times when I truly felt stuck in which two of them I was able to take a deep breath, gain a new perspective, and eventually the answer struck me. It's these moments in which Q.U.B.E. 2 really shines as that sense of accomplishment truly feels earned. I only wish the first leg of the story had more of this sensation but I do see it as a positive way to encourage those newer to the genre to step into this world and not feel overwhelmed. That elusive third time I mentioned above I did shamefully look online for assistance and afterwards wish I didn't. Word of advice, look for cables as clues if something seems missing or not possible.Graphics
This really is a beautiful game that captures the ambiance of the facility quite well. The simplistic, sterile environment of the facility is aesthetically pleasing yet doesn't detract from the focus of each room - the puzzles themselves. The rooms are consistent yet not monotonous and there will be moments filled with an oasis of color that may seem basic in most games but coupled with the barren confines of the facility seem visually striking.Audio
Surprisingly, there is almost a complete lack of music for the vast majority of this game outside of angelic overtones when completing a puzzle or progressing to a certain point of the story. This was something that I didn't really notice unless I focused upon it as the machinations of the puzzles created their own unique sounds and kept you entrapped within the moment. It's not a detriment, per se, but I feel that a more consistent background soundtrack could have only benefited this world.Achievements
There are 15 achievements in total in which 12 of them will be unlocked simply by completing the story. There are two which require specific tasks during the playthrough in which one of them will likely occur by mistake. The other requires acting a little outside of the norm and will more often be missed unless seeking it out. If you want to be sure to grab it on your first playthrough see the guides for the below:
Lastly, there are two different endings in which each of them will unlock an achievement. Be aware, once the game is beaten it reverts you back to the main menu after the credits in which the Continue Game option is gone forcing you to start a new game. I've read that it is possible to quit the game after unlocking the ending achievement before the game actually ends so as to reload the checkpoint but I did not opt for this approach and instead enjoyed a second playthrough.Summary
This was a game that I genuinely enjoyed and came away with a great sense of satisfaction for figuring out the puzzles room by room. Once the concepts click, you're able to step back and develop a rough game plan and after a few tweaks it all falls into place and you feel you've earned the right to move on. The story was also a very interesting concept, although slightly confusing on the first playthrough, that had me reflecting upon it after finishing the achievement list and retiring the game. My only wishes were a heightened sense of difficulty in the first half of the story and perhaps a little more variation in the broad story design as the rooms differed each time but the larger areas felt a little "been there done that". Overall, a very enjoyable 4.0 and I hope you get as much joy from it as I did. Thanks for the read!