Edge is a game from , originally released 31st December, 1969

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Edge Review

What if we told you it was a good idea to pay $5.99 for a game populated solely by simple boxes, modeled in various shades of grey, with no textures to speak of? You’d probably think we were crackers… but we’re not. We’re describing Edge, a new platformer from Mobigame that takes minimalist design to a whole new level. Although it will not be everyone’s cup of tea–especially those that don’t care for games that require precision maneuvers–many are going to love it.

Edge’s 26 levels are rendered in an isometric perspective, much like the old arcade obstacle course game Marble Madness. The main difference here is that you’re rolling a cube around instead of a ball, meaning that you move one space at a time, and are also able to remain stationary. Edge assigns you a grade for each level depending on how fast you can make it to the exit, how many glowing cubes (“prisms”) you collect on your way there, and how often you fall off the track into space.

Edge takes that exceedingly basic setup and runs wild with it. The game’s levels may be built out of blocks and tiles, but make no mistake–they are living, breathing creatures. The designers built scores of automated conveyor belts, pistons, escalators, and far more imaginative machines into each level. For instance, you might hit a switch and suddenly be whisked across the level on a flying tile carpet, blasted across a hazardous piece of ground by a catapult, or even given a ride on the shoulder of a friendly block robot. The 45-degree viewing angle means that your cube will occasionally be obscured by walls of blocks as you traverse this craziness, but Edge provides an overhead “radar” that describes the surrounding area’s layout and elevation, as well as the location of any nearby prisms.

Meanwhile, the game’s presentation places you squarely in this virtual universe of platonic solids. Your cube animates very smoothly as you are buffeted about by the levels, and the camera scales in and out to give you the best possible perspective on the action. Edge’s soundtrack is an original collection of bleepy, bloopy chiptunes straight out of the Game Boy era. It fits perfectly with the minimalist theme, and you’ll be in heaven if you are a fan of 8-bit signal processing.

The major fly in the ointment has to do with the controls. Edge provides both tilt and touch controls to flip the cube around, but we found that neither scheme was perfectly suited to everything we needed to do. We preferred the touch controls for general-purpose movement, because the non-adjustable tilt controls are awfully sensitive, and it’s easy to go careening over the side accidentally. That said, the tilt controls are better suited to certain challenging maneuvers–especially those that require sticking to, or balancing on, moving walls. We would like to try switching between them mid-game, but that doesn’t seem to be a possibility.

Edge isn’t cheap, but it has a certain stylish appeal that is pretty rare on the App Store; in fact, we may have paid $5.99 for the soundtrack alone, if it were possible to download it in MP3 format! If you’re up for a challenge, Edge is well worth your time and money.

More stories on Edge

Tipped Off The Edge: Infamous App Disappears Again, Reappears as

Mobigame’s excellent puzzler Edge recently disappeared from the App Store yet again. The title, which had previously been at the center of a trademark dispute with developer Edge Games and its head honcho Tim Langdell, vanished from the US/UK App Store only to reappear a few days later with a new name.

The only clue as to Edge’s initial disappearance came from the developer itself, who tweeted, ‘We did not do anything but we will try to figure out what’s happening.” Now they say through Twitter that Edgy is “a new product designed for the Amercian legal system 😉 you can still find the old product on all others continents”.

The dispute with Edge Games, which revolved around the game’s name, had seemed to have been put to bed back in October with the game returning to the App Store and Langdell turning his attention to Nalin Sharma’s Killer Edge Racing. Now attention has again returned to Mobigame, just as the developer released its follow-up to Edge, Cross Fingers.

We’re hoping this name change will finally take the pressure off of Mobigame. Meanwhile, Edge Games is also currently being taken on by the might of Electronic Arts, as well as challenging the sale of Killer Edge Racing.

Edge to Edgy: iPhone Trademark Battle Fuels Fightback Fund

For the gamers amongst us, Edge’s recent removal from the App Store has proved something of a nuisance–one of the iPhone’s signature stars (and a Slide To Play Must Have, no less) removed just as it was gaining a significant and adoring audience. For some in the game development community, however, Mobigame’s battle over Edge’s name stands for much more than restoring the game to the App Store.

If Edge’s departure is news to you, here’s a refresher. Mobigame removed Edge from the App Store back in May after having been contacted by a company called Edge Games, who claimed rights over the game’s name. It’s since emerged that Edge Games’ founder Tim Langdell has informed Mobigame that he believes Edge also infringes on one of his studio’s own titles, Bobby Bearing, released on the Spectrum back in 1986. Mobigame alleges that Langdell insisted the developer either drop Edge’s name (along with handing over 25% of any profits made in its time on sale), or alter it to include a reference to Bobby Bearing.

Of course, trademark battles are fairly common in all areas of business, and a company has every right to protect a name it has built from the ground up. What has angered some sectors of the development community is their belief that Edge Games has done little over the last 20 years apart from contest the use of the word ‘Edge’ across a plethora of media. Reports have also surfaced suggesting Mobigame offered to rename its game ‘Edgy,’ only to find Langdell’s company had trademarked that moniker a few days later.

Sweet, sweet Edge, will we ever see you again?

However, this could prove to be one battle too far for Edge Games. Many developers seem to be rallying behind a fund set up by development forum The Chaos Engine to fight Langdell’s claims on Mobigame.

‘After a long discussion on The Chaos Engine, we collectively agreed that while the attack on Mobigame’s title may have been legally allowed, it was certainly not in the interests of helping the smaller independent developer,’ Dean Roskell, founder of independent developer melonpunk, told us. ‘That’s something Tim Langdell claims to be fully behind, especially as part of his role on the board of the IGDA [International Game Developers Association]. So we looked at how we could help out aside from giving our well wishes and spreading the word of this questionable legal attack.’

The Chaos Engine’s fund has created a stir since its inception, with developers and gamers alike donating since it was covered in the UK trade magazine Develop.

‘We knew fighting this head on was the right thing to do. So many others have buckled under Edge Games’ onslaught of demanding legal letters, and we thought it was time that someone stepped up to fight him, to show him that the little man doesn’t stand alone in this industry and we will come together to support each other,’ Roskell continued.

Indeed, a quick trip to Edge Games’ website reveals the extent of its victories over the years. Everything from Wii peripherals with the word ‘edge’ in their title, to the respected UK games magazine Edge have licensed the name from Langdell’s firm. Edge Games even took Namco to court back in 2001 over the rights to the name ‘Soul Edge’–later retitled ‘Soul Blade’ by Namco to avoid further trouble–but lost the case. Even though that case went down as a defeat for Langdell, Namco initially knuckled under to his claim to the name.

‘We also knew that the previous cases which had gone to the courts had all ended with Edge Games losing the fight,’ Roskell stated, ‘so the chances of winning are good. It was a question of asking Mobigame if they’d allow us to help them out, and for us to start the fund in their honor and help spread the word right across the game industry. Legal battles are not cheap, and they’re certainly not on the forefront of any developers mind, especially a small two-man outfit such as Mobigame.’

And this is what Edge Games’ detractors claim is the company’s business–threatening to file suit over the name Edge, hoping the accused will concede and opt to pay a smaller license fee to Edge Games, rather than the hefty legal charges involved with taking the case to court. This allegation has been firmly refuted by Langdell himself (indeed, anyone wanting a sample of his side of the story should visit Eurogamer for his take). Regardless, The Chaos Engine is determined not to turn the fight into a personal battle, instead focusing on the precedent this could set for small, independent developers working on formats like the iPhone in the future.

‘Life as an indie developer is tough from the get go, small bands of developers working with all their heart, soul and precious hours to try and do what they love in order to make a living. It’s an uphill struggle, even without the hindrance of pointless legal disputes from companies that show no signs of compassion for this industry,’ Roskell concluded.

‘As a fellow independent developer that’s just getting started, I personally look to companies like Mobigame for inspiration and reassurance that it’s actually possible to survive in this harsh industry. So when news of attacks like this appear it’s a very scary thing. You have so many roles to fill as an independent, not only are you charged with developing the ideas and the games themselves, but also the marketing, sales, testing and support.

‘So when someone throws a legal letter your way saying cough up 25 per cent of everything you’ve achieved so far or face harsh penalties, you’re then forced to put on a legal hat too and start working a whole new role, one that could make the difference between making a living or bankruptcy. It’s comforting to know that being indie doesn’t mean being alone. As developers we’re all in the same boat, and the actions of The Chaos Engine show that we can stick together to help each other out when we need to.’

And that’s the crux of the issue. For The Chaos Engine and its supporters, Edge Games’ claim on Mobigame’s Edge has gone way beyond a top title being withdrawn from the App Store. Edge now stands as an example of the fragile state of independent development.