Archaeologist Amelia Cross awakens stranded in a strange alien world. Her whereabouts unknown, the only familiarity is a fellow survivor also lost within the expanse. Fitted with a power suit which enables the manipulation of the environment via creation of ‘cubes’ Amelia must use this technology to unravel the secrets of this vast alien world and find her way back home.
Visually Q.U.B.E 2 is stunning. The first Q.U.B.E game focused on the puzzles and contraptions leaving the environment around the player a homogenous mass of white 2D cubes. Q.U.B.E 2 however has placed emphasis on the colour palate and 3D shaping of the environment, making the alien world Amelia is lost in feel alive, exotic and exciting. Deep shades of blues and greys dominate the temple with lighting and sun flares reflecting off the cubes the space station is built from.
Puzzle solving is at the heart of Q.U.B.E 2. Each room contains a puzzle which can only be solved by using the power gloves to create coloured cubes which all have different properties. Summoning a blue cube produces a launch pad, a red cube extends into either a horizontal or vertical platform and the green power creates a solid cube which Amelia can use to her advantage. These puzzles start off very simplistic and develop into complex conundrums which span over multiple rooms and floors. Powering up reactors and moving to the next floor fuels the first portion of Q.U.B.E 2 and it’s a refreshing aspect that upon entering a new room the challenges are entirely new and innovative to reach the same goal of restoring reactors, meaning that Q.U.B.E 2 is extremely stimulating and not at all tedious.
As well as the large amount of puzzle’s which dominate the game a mysterious sci-fi story bubbles underneath the gameplay. Amelia’s one companion Emma Sutcliffe guides Amelia through the alien landscape whilst providing a broken backstory featuring an extra-terrestrial object and a mission to destroy it. The beauty of uncovering the story alongside the protagonist had me totally invested in the game, each twist and turn surprising me as if I was in the alien temple myself. Strange statues which litter the temple reveal distressing transmissions which power the story further, drip-feeding you information at a tantalising pace.
The soundtrack which accompanies this game mirrors the mellow hum and buzz of a machines whirring and working. Sound design is extremely effective as it fills the atmosphere during the silences in conversation. Voice acting is also particularly effective in this game. Moments when characters are talking are infrequent but when Amelia and Emma do speak each other distinct emotion can be heard in their voices. Q.U.B.E 2 is almost void of negatives and its hard to fault the game at all. Some of the earlier levels may play more like a chore rather than a flowing gaming experience but the unique puzzles easily hold the anticipation and excitement that Q.U.B.E 2 has to offer.
Overall this expansion of the Q.U.B.E world is impressively successful; the story is particularly immersive which is rare for a puzzler like this. For those who enjoyed Q.U.B.E but wanted a little more narrative colour in their life, look no further than its excellent sequel.
*This honest review was written in exchange for a early review copy of the game*