Saturday, February 23

Review: Q.U.B.E. 2 [Nintendo Switch eShop]

First-person physics-based puzzle games have always been of some interest to me. Ever since Portal pretty well laid down the gauntlet for how the genre should be done it seems impossible to avoid comparisons of some kind when any new title in the same general vein arrives. Q.U.B.E. 2, while having some tricks of its own, certainly follows some of those some conventions, throwing you a bit disoriented into a gauntlet of room-based challenges where you’ll need to make smart use of your abilities to proceed.

Rather than being given a gun that shoots portals onto surfaces to work with you’ll instead have your gloves that are able to interact with specific spaces to assign them color-coded properties. Blue spaces will cause things (including you) to bounce away with some force, you can pull out and extend red space, and you’re able to summon small cubes with green. Over the next handful of hours the game will then put you through an increasingly-challenging and clever series of rooms that will test your ability to make effective use of those core abilities while also throwing in a variety of other room-based elements.

While the action can get a bit chuggy in some spots as the system struggles with areas that are a bit too ambitious for the Switch to handle well for the most part the game’s presentation is spot-on and impressive. Though the rooms are relatively sparse they have some great details and irregularities to them that show the developer put some time into keeping everything from feeling sterile and boring. As a whole with a little bit of observation and experimentation the puzzles are well-conceived and rewarding to work through, typically doing a great job of slowly forcing you to evolve simpler concepts into more elaborate ones as you progress. While there is a bit of a story trying to help provide meaning to what you’re doing it’s unfortunately nothing on the order of Portal’s GLaDOS, and merely works well enough to build some intrigue to keep you wanting to see where things go in the end.

As a whole Q.U.B.E. 2 is a satisfying and reasonably challenging first-person physics puzzler. While not offering up quite the mind-bending fun of the Portal series, and lacking its signature humor and quirkiness, it still does a great job of clearly standing on its own and walking you through some very clever puzzles. Given the lack of any better examples of this style of play available on the Switch it’s pretty easy to recommend.

Score: 8

  • Smart and engaging physics puzzles
  • It’s obvious that effort was put into making the rooms have a sense of personality to them rather than being plain and sterile
  • The progression of new elements and challenges is pretty consistent throughout

  • There are some areas where the Switch can struggle a bit
  • The story is serviceable but not very inspired