By: Ronald Gordon
Q.U.B.E 2, a stirring, adventure-filled puzzle game, is the sequel to the original which was released back in late 2011. The game, which I played on Xbox One, is about an archaeologist named Amelia Cross who ends up stranded on an alien planet and gets trapped in a sandstorm. However, a sandstorm isn’t the only thing you’ll have to worry about being trapped in, as you soon find out.
The plot of the story is that you wake up in a mysterious structure on an alien planet and don’t know what to do, and you have no memory of how you got there. However, with the help of your fellow survivor Emma Sutcliffe, you learn that your new objective is to find a way home. Throughout your journey, Emma informs you that you may have something called cryogenic induced amnesia, which is why you can’t remember much about how you go to this planet, or why you’re there.
You go about finding a way home by first discovering a way to the top of the structure you’re in and by using your special technology to do so. That technology is reminiscent of Portal’s patented portal gun but instead, you use cubes! However, these aren’t your average cubes. They’re all special in their own way because they all do something different.
There are three distinct colors to the cubes – blue, orange and green – and each of them can be used in a different way to help you on your journey. Blue cubes create launchpads that can propel you up into the air or launch the item you need all the way across the room. Orange cubes create long platforms that can help you reach the next stage or can help you catch an object when it’s falling. Finally, green cubes create other cubes that can be used to hold down buttons that need weight in order to activate something like a door in your way or a platform that could lift you up. You can also launch them at targets to break doors or other structures that need to be broken, so that you can progress through a level.
Throughout the game, you’ll unlock different types of cubes to solve an array of puzzles in order to finally find a way back to your original digs. The puzzles range from simple button puzzles to complex puzzles that use levers and momentum and require good timing or patience….or, occasionally, a degree in physics. One of the puzzles that stumped me required me to find a way to propel a cube with only a magnetic platform. However, if I activated the platform at the wrong time, there wouldn’t be enough momentum for the cube to travel far. Took me nearly twenty minutes to figure out that one but I got through it.
I love this game’s 3D style as it beautifully animated the puzzles. Also, the movement of the objects you use is fluid and smooth. However, the game not only has great animations, but also moving voice acting. The conversations Amelia and Emma have sound genuinely like two people talking. Plus, the music is really compelling even though it’s mostly played during influential parts in a level, such as when you open up a new area or discover new information, which makes those scenes more dramatic.
The gameplay is pretty simple. You can put down cubes, you can remove cubes, you can switch between cubes to find the way you want, and you can activate the different mechanisms located within your level. There’s no sprint button, and the walking is a little too linear, butT I like how the game’s developers added a camera bob to it to make it seem more realistic.
Q.U.B.E. 2 is a great game in my opinion as the story and the puzzles pull you deeper and deeper into the mysterious place you’re trapped in. Q.U.B.E 2 tells its interesting story through dialogue so anyone can enjoy it without playing the original Q.U.B.E. I would highly suggest it to anyone who likes a good sci-fi puzzle game.
Ronald Gordon is a New York Videogame Critics Circle intern, part of our ongoing partnership with Bronx’s DreamYard Prep School.