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Qbeh (PC) artwork

Qbeh (PC) review

"A playable ad that does a poor job of convincing you to buy its product."

Qbeh (PC) image

Note: This game is not to be mistaken with Qbeh-1: The Atlas Cube, which is actually this title's "prequel."

Within the span of its fifteen minute campaign, the first-person puzzle adventure Qbeh (supposedly pronounced "cube") managed to tick me off. If you're inclined to believe that I was tormented by its grueling challenge factor, then perish the thought because the game is remarkably simple. Each surreal stage features floating structures to explore, culminating in a doorway that takes you to the next stage. Of course, standing between you and that gateway are a handful of block puzzles that require zero brains to solve. We're off to a good start, aren't we?

When I call the segments in Qbeh "puzzles," I may be stretching it. Every riddle the game offers consists of nabbing red blocks found throughout the level and placing them on conspicuous colored squares in order to build bridges and staircases. In other words, the game outright tells you where to place the bricks to solve its "puzzles." Can you imagine if Alundra or The Adventures of Lolo had prompts like "push pillar this way" or "turn this enemy into an egg" for its challenges? This is hand-holding in the worst way, and it goes beyond just making the game "accessible." It's practically an insult.

Qbeh (PC) image

In fact, the title's mild amount of platforming is more difficult than its puzzles, but not for the right reasons. Bear in mind that Qbeh's perspective is first-person. Have you played many first-person platformers? Alright, I'll cut Qbeh a little slack and say that its platforming segments aren't as terrible as, say, Penumbra: Requiem. Thankfully, each piece of land is positioned just such that you won't need to leap at the very edge of an island to reach your destination. Unfortunately, the control response is on the loose side, so you may still end up falling to your death by either overshooting your target or over-correcting once you've landed.

Exploration begets little to nothing. Now and then, you'll spot a side route and rush to check it out, only to find a dead end. One stage I recall had some markers at its conclusion that allowed you to create a stairway of sorts. From there, the pathway leads to a room overlooking the level with nothing special in sight. I would call it a waste of time, but it's not as though one percent of fifteen minutes is that big of a deal. More than anything, segments like this come off as a flimsy attempt to inject depth into a campaign that lacks in more vital areas.

Qbeh (PC) image

Qbeh bears faint glimmers of a narrative. I can't quite piece it together, except that one level is mysteriously named "Cassandra." Another stage, called "Atlas," hooks you up with unlimited cubes, just before it begins to break apart while dramatic music plays. It's as if this was meant to serve as a turning point in an indiscernible tale. I guess I would've called this scene intense, if I knew the context behind it.

After only a few levels, you reach the end. SPOILER: It's not actually the end and Qbeh is not merely a predecessor to Qbeh-1, but more like a playable trailer. You complete the campaign and receive an FMV letting you know Qbeh-1: The Atlas Cube is "out now on Steam." It was at this point I felt like Ralphie from "A Christmas Story." The ending cinematic may as well have told me to be sure to drink my Ovaltine.

So let's think about this now: Qbeh is a basically a playable trailer that: 1) Fails to market its "prequel's" puzzles as gripping or intelligent, 2) sports a vague narrative that doesn't give you any reason to continue the "story," since you have no idea what's going on, 3) showcases first-person platforming, which will likely be found in abundance in the prequel, and 4) flirts with the concept of depth, but doesn't commit to it. Needless to say, I probably won't be buying Qbeh-1 anytime soon*. Oh well, at least the "trailer" was free.

*A massive bargain during a sale might sway me.

JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Community review by JoeTheDestroyer (February 21, 2016)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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