Overall Score 78%
There is a children's toy that is designed to teach a growing baby about spatial awareness. I do not know what it is called but it consists of a box with several shapes cut out of the top. It also has a number of blocks which correspond to these shapes. To get the shapes in the box, you put them in the right holes.
I am reminded of this toy whenever I think of Qubx. Here we have a cube with a different shape on each face, and blocks of corresponding shape float towards the cube. Unlike the children's toy, you don't move the shape but rotate the box. You can also 'magnetise' the box to make shapes fall toward it faster. Match the shape to score points. If too many hit the wrong faces, the game is over.
Qubx is fairly straightforward to play. You can rotate your cube with either mouse or keyboard. Mouse control involves clicking on the cube and 'dragging' the cube into position, where it will 'lock' into place. Keyboard controls are even simpler, using the keys Q, E, A, D, W and S to rotate the cube one face in any of six directions. Use the spacebar or the right mouse button to magnetically pull a shape towards you.
For such a simple concept, the graphics are rather good. Shapes can be textured or plain and there's the normal choice of fullscreen or window and of different resolutions. Lots of animated backgrounds make the game look lively even when there's only one shape and the box moving. Rotation is smooth and you know when a shape is lined up properly as the approach line turns green.
Sound is less varied, which is understandable given its limitations in the game - aside from background music (which is good if repetitive) there are very few effects. Background tracks can be selected from the initial menu, with one track in the demo and three in the full game, though they cycle randomly anyway. Both music and effects can be individually silenced.
Gameplay is an interesting topic. There is a helpful tutorial that teaches you the basics of Qubx, and which seems to focus more on mouse control than keyboard - I personally found the keyboard much faster and easier to use, though I tend to forget which axis is which. Difficulty affects your starting level - Easy (level 1) can lead to a very long and dull game. Medium (level 11) is best for experienced players. Hard (level 21) is often a very quick game!
The biggest flaw I found in Qubx was how slowly the game difficulty develops. The real challenge is when you are confronted with two (or more) symbols at once, yet this is very rare until about level 8 or 9 so Easy mode can seem more tedious than challenging. The difficulty does not rise very quickly, seeming to taking a long time to reach the frenesis it works best at.
Overall, Qubx is an unusual but clever idea - an entertaining way to twist your brain about. Bizarre music, though.
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