Q.U.B.E. Unfolds A Demo On Steam

Spatially clever first-person puzzle game Q.U.B.E. now has a demo, and you can get it on Steam. It’s the first game from the Indie Fund guys, who I interviewed here. I believe Adam is working on a review of Q.U.B.E. at this very moment, so we should have his thoughts on the game very soon. In the meantime why not have a play of the demo and formulate your own?


  1. Navagon says:

    It’s probably also worth noting that it’s cheaper and DRM-free on Gamersgate.

  2. SuperNashwanPower says:

    The demo sadly doesn’t do the game any justice, clocking in at a teeny 5-10 minutes. It just about teaches you the most basic mechanics, and then its over. The Portal 2 influences are plain to see, though despite this the game world seems a little emotionally sterile from just the demo playthrough. It will be interesting to find out if the challenge of the puzzles alone is enough to make this game worth a punt.

    • wccrawford says:

      I bought it when it first came out on Desura.

      It has some interesting ideas for puzzles, but only 1 of them was ‘hard’, in my opinion. Most of them are pretty obvious, and the (other than that 1) the hardest ones all just require timing/coordination.

      I think it’s got some neat mechanics that were explored fairly well, but failed to produce any brain-bending puzzles.

      Also, I think all the puzzles only have 1 solution, which robs you of that ‘I was clever’ feeling.

      Edit: I also found myself fighting the controls a lot. It always seemed that I was using the wrong hand to raise and lower. They should probably have put in an option to reverse them.

    • TheGameSquid says:

      To be fair, Portal 1 could be completed without even stopping to think for longer than 30 seconds without generating any criticism whatsoever.

  3. mollemannen says:

    i remember playing this a long time ago. was it participating in “make something unreal”?

  4. Mo says:

    I enjoyed that. A bit short, but enough for me to know I’d enjoy the full game.

    Big caveat though: for a game about platforming, the jumping sure sucks. The arc should go higher and be much slower to easily make precise jumps. Metroid Prime (and to an extent, Halo) nailed this forever ago…

    • Icarus says:

      I actually hated the jumping in Halo; it felt ridiculously floaty. Master Chief probably weighs half a ton in his power armour, he shouldn’t be able to leap ten feet into the air and just float gently down while maneuvring from left to right like Super Meat Boy.

    • Mo says:

      Realism in games is arbitrary … I’m sure you’d argue that Half-Life (for example) had more realistic jumping, but then I’d go “but how does Gordon carry a million weapons at once?” The floaty-ness in Halo is explained by the lower gravitational constant in space, but in truth it doesn’t matter. It’s whatever feels right for the gameplay.

    • Terragot says:

      I don’t want to be that guy, but weight doesn’t affect how fast an object falls through the air. Also, Halo’s jumping worked really well (I thought) in translating FPS mechanics from the input speed of a controller (compared to keyboard and mouse, which IS must faster and precise for FPS games) into the game world. But you know,l that’s just, like, my opinion, man.

      EDIT – of course, I should damn my own ignorance and note that character movement on keyboard is far inferior to the pad’s analogue input.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      @Terragot: you are quite right to be that guy. This is a fact that has been known since Galileo Galilei and people should pay more attention in physics.

    • thegammaray says:

      I’m not a physicist, but I think weight definitely affects how high you can jump, as well as how quickly/easily you can change direction.

    • Dominic White says:

      Weight does affect how high you can jump… so, how high can you jump when wearing a suit of powered armor that bestows superhuman strength sufficient to casually flip over a jeep? I’d imagine pretty damn high.

    • skedar says:

      @ Terragot:
      “I don’t want to be that guy, but weight doesn’t affect how fast an object falls through the air.”

      Actually, this is irrelevant, because it is true on a given planet. When you compare two different planets, your weight would be different on the two planets, but your mass (your inertia) would remain the same. And your weight to mass ratio would therefore be different. This ratio is the acceleration at which you would fall. So you would not fall at the same speed on a different planet, having a different weight. Have you never seen video footage of men jumping on the moon? =)

      By the way, I’d agree with Mo on that matter. Jumping in Metroid Prime and Halo was quite nice. Physics consistent or not, for the gameplay. =) In Metroid Prime, Samus has a kind of jetpack.

    • Starky says:

      To be fair to halo, it was set on a ring world with significantly lower than earth gravity – so the power armour jumping and floatiness was perfectly fitting. As was the flipping your vehicle back over (which also bounced across the terrain).
      Same reason the jumping was floaty in Borderlands.

      Oh and falling speed is simply a function of gravity – on earth that is 9.8 m/s^2 – which is simply how much an object accelerates per second near the earth surface. Mass or weight makes no difference to this constant.

      Other planets with other gravitational strength would have a different constant, making falling acceleration (and thus falling speed after any length of time less then terminal velocity) faster or slower.

    • Urthman says:

      “I don’t want to be that guy, but weight doesn’t affect how fast an object falls through the air.”

      This would be true if you hadn’t said “through the air.”

    • Starky says:

      It’s still true, weight does not effect how fast an object falls through the air – only it’s aerodynamic shape. A 10 kg ball the exact same shape and as a 100 kg ball would fall at the same speed*. At least until you get down to really light objects in which the air resistance is actually strong enough to have a significant impact (such as a 1g paper sphere the same shape as those balls) on falling acceleration.

      * At least any difference would be mathematically insignificant.

  5. Brumisator says:

    I just played the demo, I’ll say nice gimmick, but I won’t be paying money for this.
    Combining 1st person platforming with puzzles just makes everything unnecessarily clunky and slow.

    Also, it reminds me of the film “cube”, which is one of my most hated films ever, so I’ll pass on grounds of emotional scarring..

  6. Kaira- says:

    I wonder if they are still planning on some Steam-exclusive content. If so, no thanks.

    • Grundig says:

      Way to shoe-horn your own agenda in, classy.

    • Kaira- says:

      Calling out indie developer for doing something I find questionable is “shoehorning agenda”? Sure thing, stay classy. Anyway, does anyone know more about the Steam-exclusive content? Only mention I’ve seen on their Facebook-page some time ago, but nothing new since.

    • Captchist says:

      I wonder if they approve of SOPA, if so no thanks.

      I wonder if they prefer milk chocolate to dark chocolate. If so no thanks.

      Here is me calling them out for things I find objectionable in a way that is clear it’s all about promoting my agenda.

      You’ll say chocolate has nothing to do with my enjoyment of the game.
      I will say neither does their releasing steam only content.

    • MondSemmel says:

      Since when is anybody here okay with platform exclusive content? I recall the ludicrousness of one of the Assassin’s Creed games having ~7 versions with different content depending on where one bought it. I don’t see how this practice can not be considered highly objectionable.
      That’s completely independent of Steam being the platform that gets exclusive content.

    • Kaira- says:


      So, riddle me this – if I buy this game from, say, Desura or GamersGate, the only way to get this new content would be to buy the game again from Steam. How does this not have anything to do with enjoyment with game?

    • Nevard says:

      If Chocolate was a part of the game, I’d complain if I didn’t get any Chocolate depending on my choice of retailer too

  7. fluffyanimals says:

    This could very well be someone trolling or going meta and trying to cause this to happen but I thought I’d point out from the Gamersgate link:

    Q.U.B.E Review – Posted December 17th (5 out of 5 stars)
    “Best game ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” – posted by toxicgames

    If we look at toxicgame’s profile:
    1 games
    1 purchases
    0 reviews
    1 ratings
    -Joined 16th Dec 201

    Now, I’m not going to point fingers or say this is definitely Toxic Games posting a 5/5 review on their own game yet but I simply find it suspicious that an account was made called “toxicgames” on Dec 16th, the owner of the account strictly owns Q.U.B.E and they gave it a perfect score on Dec 17th.

    Keep in mind, however, that someone else could have done that intentionally from another company to try to cause a stir regarding Toxic Games or something similar. While I find this unlikely it is possible and as such it’s something to keep in mind unless further information is discovered.

    • Mo says:

      I’m guessing it’s just the developers buying their own game, to make sure it all still works. This may seem like overkill, but there’s a lot that can go wrong. I’ve tested all my releases like this.

      The review is very obviously tongue-in-cheek. Leaving a review is bad form (I wouldn’t do it, anyway) but it’s very obviously done in a silly, not malicious, manner.

    • Navagon says:

      @ Mo: but on Gamersgate they can leave reviews without rating the game. Those five golden stars beside their review says that’s what they rated it. Influencing scores, be it user or critic, is something of a faux pas to say the least.

    • JohnnyMaverik says:

      To be fair while I agree it’s something I’d rather developers didn’t do it, it’s likely they were just trying to be funny, or as you said, it’s just some idiot trolling, looking to stir a reaction.

      Either way if they were going out of their way to influence the rating they probably would have done it a little more stealthily and on an at least slightly larger scale.

    • Jackablade says:

      Reply fail.

  8. Chirez says:

    The demo is an excellent taste of the full game. It’s extremely short and very sterile. It makes me appreciate how much GLaDOS added to portal without doing more than talk to you. The puzzles are nice, and the mechanics change up with pleasing frequency. It’s not portal, but it’s not all that far off either.

    I have a creeping feeling there’s content which I have not accessed, not least because despite appearing to complete the game there are achievements left unlocked in suspicious places. Unfortunately since the game is utterly silent on the topic, it’s just as likely to be a bug, so I’m not going to search any further. If they did hide content, they did it far too thoroughly.

  9. Lambchops says:

    I bought the game,as I’m a sucker for puzzles but did find myself wishing I’d played the demo first. I’m not far in but so far I’ve found the puzzles to be a bit bland, there’s nothing that has given me a big “ah-ha” moment yet. Like I said I’m not far in and I can see this going two ways. One way is that the puzzles start getting a bit more involved with clever mixtures of mechanics and I start enjoying myself. The other is that I get stuck on a some finicky puzzle and give it up wondering why i’m bothering when I’m not having fun.

    Really hope it’s the former, it’s certainly not without potential.

  10. CMaster says:

    Well, that was short.

  11. Crainey says:

    Understanding that the demo is just a sample I couldn’t really recommend anybody buy this game based purely on the demo, unless you’ve got money to waste. The game is super mediocre and unless you’re dying to play a puzzle game I’d struggle to even consider it “fun” to play, game feels very flat and without reason for being, don’t think this one has a soul.
    If I was to try and say nice things about it I would probably say it has puzzles that you can do, suffice to say not very challenging. Price this one at £2-£5 and I would perhaps suggest it as a quick puzzle fix, if it was in an indie bundle I’d probably play it, perhaps not finish it.

  12. Demiath says:

    Checked out the demo briefly, and it was alright I guess. Although the game hasn’t been rated by NVIDIA for its 3D compatibility it looked pretty good with my Vision 3D (2). Glasses never really help with depth perception in platforming sections as much as you’d think, but the spartan graphics in this game needs something to spice things up and the vibrant colors (at least on the manipulation-friendly blocks themselves) ensure that the 3D doesn’t get too dark.

  13. Jackablade says:

    Hm. I put on a saucepan of rice to cook and fired up the demo while I was waiting. The demo was completed before the rice was soft.

    So for those who’ve played the full version, what kind of things can one expect further into the game? Are there many more mechanics beyond the 3 that we see in the demo? It’s a little difficult to get a good feel for the game from what we’ve been given.

  14. Tadpol says:

    Enjoyable puzzle game so far, and only $12.74. I feel it’s a bit unfortunate that many people are comparing the game to portal, including reviews that hammer the game for not having a story.

    • Resonance says:

      Not sure I agree – the Portal influence is pretty clear; and since Portal is the standard to which most players will hold this game to, given it’s a first person puzzle game in a sterile lab environment, it’s only fair they be compared to some degree. In that respect Q.U.B.E comes up short because unlike Portal, where a dull puzzle can remain intriguing due to the storyline, Q.U.B.E has nothing to detract you from its short-comings.

    • Tadpol says:

      @Resoanance I’ll have to disagree, while aesthetically they are similar, that’s pretty much where the similarities end. They are both puzzle games, but the mechanics to one another’s puzzles are entirely different. What irks me is that portal 1 basically lacked a story until you reach the final moments of the game. Certainly small tidbits of humour, but those would generally be small lines from Glados at the beginning of a room, while the majority of the game is spent in silence solving the puzzles. Basically there wasn’t a story to push a player through most of portal 1, only the interest in solving the next puzzle. In that sense I get the same feeling from Q.U.B.E, great puzzles that draws me towards the more difficult puzzles ahead.

  15. LionsPhil says:

    Ehh. Being asked to install the UDK after the fucking wouldn’t-uninstall-cleanly mess that made from that one where you had to solve a level collaborating with timeloop echos of yourself is kind of offputting.

  16. lessthandan says:

    Played the demo, was oddly compelled by it, decided to drop the $12 on the full version.

    I like it. Not terribly far into it yet, but for anyone wondering, yes, there are more puzzle mechanics beyond what is shown in the demo.

  17. Mogget128723 says:

    Actually, the sterility that everyone is complaining about is what enamored me with the game. You wake up in a strange place with no idea of what’s going on, and that’s all the game forces down your throat. The rest is COMPLETELY up to you. The sense of isolation is wonderfully executed, but as I progressed through the game, I started to wonder if something was helping me along from the shadows, what with the way some of the puzzles are linked over long distances, and how there’s always a path through the debris in the badly damaged sector 6. I haven’t beat the game yet, but I’m looking forward to it, and despite its obvious shortness, I still believe it was worth the twelve bucks.

  18. maweki says:

    Anybody else got eye-cancer from the demo? First the graphics default to “my grandma’s pc” with 800×600 and all the effects off. Then I set up a reasonable resolution (windowed mode as well) and some Anti-Aliasing and stuff and the AA isn’t applied. And since there’s not much more to look at, the game looks hooendous without AA.
    And then the demo took me 5 minutes. Half the time I spent fiddling with the graphics settings.

    And the controls seemed so unforgiving. Jumped at a slightly wrong angle on top of a block. Got stuck on the edge and fell down again.

    In the steam forums people talk about finishing the game in under an hour and that it does not get any harder than this. Not for me then.

  19. Post-Internet Syndrome says:

    Tried the demo. Nice, clean game. I like the aesthetics and have no problem with it having no story, Portal be damned. That said, the jumping was very awkward, and the response when shifting blocks was a little bit too slow for my taste. When you have to wait that fraction of a second every time you do something it eventually adds upp into a big ball of frustration. Also as someone noted above which hand controls which thing is unintuitive. I associate left button/hand with pushing/shooting and right button/hand with melee/throwing/special thingy. These are standard FPS sensibilities hammered in over two decades and should not be fiddled with without good reason.

    The puzzling in the demo was extremely basic, but shows promise. Unfortunate if it is true it doesn’t really progress more.

  20. d00d3n says:

    Impressions from the full game: nonexistent story (did not finish), simple and unremarkable puzzles, lingers too long on the same puzzle concepts despite the limited scope, interaction with puzzles is extremely static due to the gloves only having an effect on a limited number of designer placed blocks (similar to the gameplay in Portal 2, and as opposed to the organic puzzling in for example Portal and World of Goo), mostly poor graphics

    The only aspect of the game that intrigued me was the graphics and the animation of the white blocks that form the walls around the player. Looked kind of cool for an indie game …