This weekâ€™s budget boredom buster is Edge â€“ a challenging, single player platform/puzzle game reminiscent of those 8-bit games from the 80â€™s. The object is simple: guide a rolling cube safely and quickly through a series of geometric obstacle courses, collecting small, coloured blocks (prisms) along the way. You are awarded a grade depending on your performanceâ€¦ a bit like a school report.
In total, there are 40-odd levels in the game, with access to five bonus levels if you collect all the prisms. You can elect to play any level youâ€™ve already completed, whether you wish to aim for a better time or try and pick up those prisms you missed in your hurry to reach the finish line.
Your psychedelic block can defy gravity and roll upwards as well as forward, back and sideways. Moving platforms transport you across gaps, and to spice things up there are a number of â€˜activeâ€™ tile types, including one which shrinks your cube to a fraction of its original size; temporary tiles, which have a nasty habit of falling away after you roll over them; and pressure plates â€“ some of which must be pressed in a particular sequence. Thereâ€™s even a handy hint tile, which can offer guidance if youâ€™re stuck.
Controls are basic and responsive, and the first ten levels are simple enough for anyone with opposable thumbs. After that, the difficulty level progressively ramps up as new challenges are introduced. Youâ€™ll have to call on those lightning reflexes and decision making skills to navigate each level successfully. A handful of them are extremely difficult, which will test both your patience and tenacity. One level in particular took us over two dozen attempts, accompanied by much wailing and gnashing of teeth (curse you, level 17!).
Edge is not the prettiest looking game out there, but the graphics have successfully captured that 80â€™s arcade feel. Visually, the game would fit right in alongside Crystal Castles or Q*bert. Thereâ€™s also some real creativity behind the level design, with interesting themes like the metro (underground railway) and a giant, moving robot. Shade variation can be very subtle, though - to the point of having insufficient contrast between some of the vertical and horizontal surfaces, which often sent our cube over the edge. Digitised speech and chilled out synth music add to the retro groove, and thereâ€™s a good selection of background tunes; however the loop timing isnâ€™t always seamless.
At $10.45 itâ€™s reasonable value, offers plenty of challenge and can be rewarding; however the difficulty and frustration of later levels may deter you from seeing it through to the end. Weâ€™re not ashamed to admit it: we did get stuck on several occasions, with only luck to thank for progressing further. At times like that you do have to ask why youâ€™d play a game in which completing a level brings more a sense of relief than accomplishment or fun.