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.