KickStarter Spotlight: Cube Sync

Music is one of the best ways to convey specific emotions and is the easiest way to add suspense, drama, comedy, or action to any movie scene or video game. Games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band became popular because of the then-innovative way they blended music and addictive gameplay. Inherently these games remained restrictive to the kinds of games that the developers decided to implement, and often, by their nature, did not include recent releases or more unknown songs or artists.

So, I guess the solution is to allow players to create their own gameplay from their favorite songs. I used to play a fairly popular mobile Guitar Hero-esque game that allowed the user to import their own songs and create the note patterns which would then be available for playback in the future. This was a step in the right direction, but the hassle of keying up every song was too much. Well here to break the mold and introduce a game that organically forms to any currently playing song is Amir England. Amir has created a stunning game called Cube Sync that works like familar endless runners of the past, but creates those oncoming obstacles in accordance to the beat of my music.

Now every level is different and they are enhanced by the song of my choosing. Slap on some hectic EDM music and watch the screen fill a cascade of glowing red cubes hurtling toward our blue protagonist. The visuals here are pulled straight out of Tron and are quite amazing to look at. Another thing that impressed me is the subtle animation quirks when I would switch between the 5 separate rails or jump over an oncoming cube. These are the little things that help set apps apart from one another, and Cube Sync is full of these little details. Another example is the thrilling sense of speed upon getting a green power up cube. The subtle cube blocks that spray out upon obliterating block after block for those fleeting seconds is quite enjoyable.

Like all KickStarter projects this one will never see the light of day unless they are properly funded by the community. So if this game sounds interesting please do not hesitate to swing over to their KickStarter page and help make this project a reality.

KickStarter Spotlight: Cube

KickStarter Spotlight: Cube

Jul 25, 2012

Finding a resting spot to charge a phone is challenging because the location of the micro USB is usually at the bottom of the phone making it hard to stand and display correctly. There are plenty of docks out there that allow for a cord to run through but I have not found any that truly allow for freedom of movement and easy un-docking. Also, most Android docks are tied to other devices such as clocks and stereos which make them very expensive. This week’s KickStarter project is called Cube and it is as effective as it is simple. Taking a page out of Apple’s not-so-successful Cube G4, this Cube is made out of clear plastic with one open end.

The center is a hollow cylinder and the bottom snaps off for easy insertion of a micro-USB or iPhone connector. This cord is securely fastened to the bottom of the stand which allows for the phone to be removed simply by tugging up on the phone. This would easily pull the cord out of other stands which would force the user to have to rethread it back into the tiny holes at the bottom. Cube acts like a hardwired stereo dock but with much more flexibility. Also, the simple design that comes in multiple colors and styles of plastic so it can almost become an attractive piece of decor for a living room.

The KickStarter video shows Cube having the ability to swivel around in its inner circle to face the viewer. I have some doubts about how effective this is but the fact that this is displayed as an ability is at least promising. Another strange claim is that the Cube was designed to naturally amplify the sound of music or notifications. I do not know how much the Cube was specially designed to amplify sound so much as it was discovered to amplify it naturally.

Even through all this I am excited for Cube, as it is very attractive and simple. It fixes the problem that a lot of other stands have and delivers it all in an inexpensive package; retailing for around $25. As with all KickStarter Spotlights, there is no way it can become a reality without the support of the internet.

Edge Extended Review

Edge Extended Review

Feb 3, 2012

I love being surprised by games. It’s great when a game I was waiting for lives up to my expectations, but when I stumble on something great it feels like an early birthday present. Edge Extended is one of those gifts, something I might have missed if it wasn’t writing this review. Let me say, early and often, that it is great and everyone should play it.

It is a puzzle game, very similar to Puzzle 2, however it has a sort of space-age feel to it right off the bat. The user controls a cube and navigates it around on the gameboard with gestures. The cube can flip end over end to move from place to place, but can also topple off the edges if flipped too aggressively. The goal of every level is to flip the cube on to a home pad, while collecting particles of energy along the way. The cube starts off capable of moving at a fixed speed, but every energy particle collected increases its potential speed. Continuous motion can be achieved by holding your finger on the screen.

This game is gorgeous, just lovely. The cube is illuminated by a constantly-shifting flicker of colour, using the entire rainbow spectrum, contrasting with the grey gameboard. The tiny particles that the cube collects flicker with the same light, and so does the home pad that the cube needs to reach. There are stars out there in the beyond, and when the cube is finally rotated to land on the home pad, it explodes in a tower of light and everything recedes into the distance as though sucked into a black hole. Each level has a theme (hinted at by its name) and some special challenge. My favourite is Mini Cube, when the cube shrinks down and flips around the board making a hilarious duck sound.

This game has it all going for it: fantastic graphics and sound, and it’s challenging without being frustrating. The score after completion of a level is calculated based on how quickly it could have been completed. If a user wants to challenge themselves to do it faster they have the option of racing against their shadow from the previous attempt. I love the sense of competition it creates – with myself.

The only thing I could say against it is that the controls sometimes react too strongly to what I thought was a smaller gesture. But then again I’ve seen that lessen the longer I’ve played, so perhaps I’m calibrating myself to the game.