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    Q.U.B.E. 2 review: A bigger sequel and a better sequel, but the novelty

    Again in 2012, Q.U.B.E. jogged my memory of Portal. Now, six years later, the sequel Q.U.B.E. 2 jogs my memory of Portal 2—and that annoys me. It annoys me as a result of I hate decreasing a recreation to the sum of its (very apparent) inspirations, hate making an attempt to separate one from the shadow of the opposite, hate lumping collectively apples and oranges merely as a result of they’re fruit.

    However Q.U.B.E. 2 and Portal 2 are much less apples and oranges, extra a blended crate of Fuji and Honeycrisp apples. There’s a way of historical past repeating itself as, like Portal earlier than, the proof-of-concept that was Q.U.B.E. returns with a bigger, extra difficult sequel—one which typically leaves you lacking the unique’s simplicity.

    Blockhead

    Overlook “jogged my memory of,” really. Q.U.B.E., brief for “Fast Understanding of Block Extrusion,” was essentially the most Portal of all of the post-Portal knockoffs. Six years on from its 2012 launch, I feel we are able to comfortably make that declare. White rooms, physics puzzles, fancy gloves that allow you to manipulate the setting—the inspirations had been apparent. Too apparent, perhaps.

    IDG / Hayden Dingman

    In fact, Q.U.B.E. (or simply QUBE from right here on) had a gimmick: Cubes. Duh. The entire world was constructed from them. Armed with the aforementioned fancy gloves, you might transfer or work together with sure blocks. Orange cubes, for example, might be pulled out (extruded) from the wall to kind a ledge. Blue cubes launched gamers and objects across the setting. Inexperienced cubes spat out standalone blocks, which may crush switches or allow you to soar to the next ledge.

    Thus far, so Portal. “With a twist,” certain, and the puzzles had been first rate sufficient, but it surely’s fairly telling that almost all actions in QUBE had an analog in Portal prior.

    And to be sincere, I don’t suppose QUBE meant to interrupt out of Portal’s shadow. Hell, the unique model of QUBE barely had a narrative. It wasn’t till 2014’s QUBE: Director’s Lower, two years after the preliminary launch, that the sport obtained correct voiceover narration and a few semblance of coherence. The preliminary 2012 model was principally “Portal-style puzzles for individuals who like Portal-style video games,” and nothing extra.

    Q.U.B.E. 2 IDG / Hayden Dingman

    QUBE 2 is kind of a bit bigger, at the very least in scope. All it’s a must to do is take a look at it. Gone are the clean white partitions of its predecessor. The world-made-out-of-cubes look stays, however now in darker tones, rougher, like stone or concrete as a substitute of future-plastic. The closest real-world parallel is Frank Lloyd Wright’s Mayan-themed Ennis House, which most famously impressed the inside of Deckard’s residence in Blade Runner. It’s distinctive and attention-grabbing, particularly together with Unreal four’s always-stunning lighting results.

    Extra detailed environments assist in telling a extra difficult story, too. The Director’s Lower laid some groundwork, establishing the dice as an infinite spaceship hurtling in the direction of Earth, prompting you to blow it up, after which casting doubt upon whether or not that was the precise transfer or not. QUBE 2 picks up on these threads. Right here, you play as Amelia Cross, an archaeologist who in some way awakens on a wierd and dusty pink planet and is pressured to shelter in one other monumental dice construction. Shock: Extra puzzles inside—and extra morally doubtful voices in your radio.

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