By: Matthew Striplen
I don’t know of a gamer alive that doesn’t have a soft spot in their heart for classic 8-bit graphics. Edge takes advantage of that fact, but it also soups them up with futuristic atmospheres and crystal-clear geometric shapes.
Edge‘s premise is pretty simple: get your cube-tastic self from point A to point B as fast as possible without dying. Plus, there are a few collectables, called Prisms, to keep an eye out for. The interest comes in the level design and game mechanics.
As a cube, in order to move, you roll end over end to reach your destination. Since everything in this game universe is some form of rectangle or prism, the cube can even roll part way up sheer walls. The cool part comes when the player is faced with a bottomless pit and moving walls; as since the player can roll partly up the wall, doing this will cause the cube to stick precariously to it.
The player must maintain a precise angle to stay onboard, as rolling too high or low will cause the cube to lose contact. This ability enables the player to traverse a wide range of environments. The longer a player stays in this sticking state, the more “Edge Time” is earned, which is subtracted from the total level time.
Several other mechanics are also employed to enhance the experience. The player will find floor buttons littered across the level, each with a unique effect. Some may raise platforms, enabling you to reach your goal, while others may unleash a fast moving block to either speed you along your journey, or deliver a swift death.
The unpredictability of these buttons, along with other mechanics often require simple trial and error. Since many of these effects happen in the blink of an eye, they are nearly impossible to beat on the first try and demand memorization. Memorization of puzzles is not necessarily a bad quality, but the unpredictability and sheer speed with which obstacles destroy your cube makes the experience feel like the game is taking cheap shots.
Edge boasts a huge number of puzzles, with more than 100 to choose from across three types: normal, extended and bonus. Level length varies considerably, becoming especially long in the extended levels section. Difficulty also ranges considerably. The first few levels are nearly boring, but things will quickly ramp up the challenge. After completing a level, the player will be faced with a statistics and grading screen. Players will receive a letter grade between D and S-plus, depending on which criteria are met. Earning anything above an A requires some serious study and memorization of the more advanced segments.
While initially cool to look at, Edge‘s environments did not hold my interest for long. The 8-bit inspired world was cool, but nearly everything is some shade of grey. This drab color palette does serve to make the bright colors that are present pop out much more than normally. That being said, not enough colors are present to break the monotony. Also, the game will occasionally lag, causing gameplay to slow to a crawl.
One of my favorite aspects of the game is the techno-inspired soundtrack. Only a few tracks are used, but I really enjoyed the music. Additionally, the sound effect of the rolling cube provides an oddly satisfying plop.
When I first booted up Edge, I was excited to see what crazy puzzles would be thrown my way, especially with the retro graphics. I was expecting a huge amount of creative mechanics, considering the “edgy” look and traditional style. Some of my expectations were met, but most of the time I felt like the developers simply took advantage of the element of surprise to create difficulty. While Edge provides some fun, it lacks the staying power to maintain interest through the entire game.