I very rarely see myself as someone who particularly enjoys puzzle games. That is, until I play something exceptionally innovative and original, like Portal, Monument Valley or indeed Tetris. QUBE2 has definitely made it onto that special list of puzzle games that I start playing and don’t stop playing until my eyes feel like they’re no longer attached to my face.
I was immediately hooked by the addictive, brain teasing physical puzzles. They were extremely solid and clever. You meet each challenge as a blank slate on which to project your ideas, again, similar to Portal and building on the advanced gameplay towards the end of the first game. Each time you complete one of the puzzles, you get that sense of satisfaction, the “damn, I’m a genius” feeling. They’re nifty and the difficulty/complexity of the puzzles increases at a decent pace. Nothing feels too jarring. The controls are simple and intuitive as well. I can’t fault QUBE2 for anything in terms of its actual gameplay.
Obviously, QUBE2 isn’t the first title in the series, but I didn't feel like I was missing something despite not having played the previous title. QUBE2 seems to just be a bigger, better looking sequel, standard stuff. The game drops you in at a point that feels very much like a new beginning. However, having made myself familiar with the narrative of the first game, the plot of QUBE2 does seem uncannily similar to the first game.
Speaking of similar storylines, the more I played QUBE2, the more I found myself saying "Wow, this is so much like portal". Initially, this was mostly in reference to gameplay and general puzzle style, but as the story progressed, things became a little too familiar (especially knowing the first game ends in the player almost being thrown into a fire). The trope of the initially helpful voice-over (in this case, Emma) who seems increasingly deceptive in particular…
It’s all very Portal-esque. But I don’t think that’s necessarily the worst thing in the world.
But about that voice-over (I’m a sucker for good voice-acting), the voice performances are pretty great and very pleasing to listen to. It definitely helps you get invested in the story and makes a nice break between the quiet moments of puzzle-mulling.
While QUBE2 is so clearly inspired by Portal, and at times it’s hard to separate from it’s obvious inspirations, it does capture that same slick, beautifully thought out and functional gameplay while retaining a good deal of originality. It’s a damn nice puzzler and it’s definitely worth a play!