Q.U.B.E – What happens when Portal and TAG make a baby?

TAG : The Power of Paint by DigiPen is one of my favourite games, ever. It’s a first person shooter, but with a paint gun and puzzle based gameplay rather than killing people, a fun puzzle, not a tear your hair out puzzle. You’ve probably not heard of TAG, it was just a small student project, an ‘indie’ title. I say small, but was clearly big enough to come first in the Independent Games Festival, and then big enough to get noticed by Valve, who decided to hire the makers DigiPen and incorporate the ideas into the yet to be release Portal 2.

I’m babbling a bit, after all this post is supposed to be about Q.U.B.E, which is the evil child spawned from the depths of TAG and Portal’s loins (ed. that sounds gross). Q.U.B.E, which stands for ‘quick understanding of block extrusion’ (not a very catchy line but the acronym is cool) is a first person platformer/puzzler similar to TAG and more well known Portal.

It’s another student project, which according to their website is turning into a fully-fledged single player game. Personally, I can’t wait. This game is totally fresh, taking the first person platformer another step forward. The scientific white wash walls may resemble Portal and TAG, but that is a good thing. The brightly coloured controllable objects stand out and with nothing else to distract you, you’ll quickly make progress through the increasingly more difficult challenges. With nothing but WASD, left and right click, anyone familiar with FPS will find their way instantly, and anyone with half a brain will progressively work through the puzzles only to discover time (in the real word) has disappeared.

Currently in beta (v1.3), Q.U.B.E can be downloaded for free here, the two important words to remember here are ‘beta’ and ‘free’. Other than choosing a resolution, there are no other options at present (it is beta after all). No changing controls or adjusting sound, infact once ingame there is no save either, so don’t do what I do by quitting to write this article only to go back in and realise your hour or two of progress is gone and you need to start again.

So team Q.U.B.E, please add a save progress option in the next release, and maybe a VSYNC option as I found tearing a bit of a problem, obviously not your fault but a known issue with any Unreal Engine 3 game. Speaking of which this game was made using the Unreal Development Kit, which is free to everyone and anyone who wishes to try and make their own game. Unreal Engine powers nearly everything out there, from Gears of Wars to the latest Medal of Honour, XBLA hit Shadow Complex to next gen iPhone games, so it’s great to see such cool titles being produced by people who wouldn’t have the funds or time to create there own engine. So hats off to Toxic Games for Q.U.B.E and also a big cheer to UDK for enabling titles like this to be produced. Long live PC, and long live indie.

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