Last year I got to review a cool and unique game system called Sifteo Cubes. I really liked them because of their small size. I felt they would be a great portable system, but you had to lug around a laptop or netbook because they were tied to a computer via WiFi for game and sound management. Sifteo, the company, listened to a lot of customer feedback over portability and other issues and developed all new Sifteo Cubes.
The all new Sifteo Cubes solves the portability issue with the Sifteo Base. The Sifteo Base is about the size of two Sifteo Cubes side by side (just under four inches long) and it provides the game and sound management that was originally handled by a computer. The new system runs on AAA batteries also, allowing for owners to be able to buy replacements if they are out and about. Play time is better than the old Sifteo Cubes, roughly around ten hours, compared to the four hours of the originals.
That improved play time comes with other improvements. The first are better full color TFT LCD screens, which allows for crisper, cleaner graphics. Second, those screens are now touch sensitive. While I personally prefer the more tactile friendly clickable screens of the old cubes, these new touch sensitive screens are more responsive. The last improvement doesn’t enhance the play time, but more the expandability; you can now pair up to twelve cubes. The old cubes topped out at six. With the adaptability of having more cubes you have not only more pieces for your games but it allows for more people to play.
The new Sifteo Cubes Starter Pack comes with a Sifteo Base, three Sifteo Cubes, a USB cable, and five AAA batteries (two for the Base, one each for the Cubes). The Base comes preinstalled with four games; Chroma Splash, Cube Buddies, Code Cracker, and Word Caravan. A fifth game, Sandwich Kingdom is available also, but for a limited time.
Here is where old and the new share the same fun unique gameplay. The game I spent the most time with (read; most addicting) was Chroma Splash. In it you must clear colored “Chromits,” little colored balls that are under water. You do this by matching up the chromits in one cube with the same colored chromits in another. Tilting a cube allows you to move the chromits around within the cube. Once you have cleared all the chromits from all the cubes you move on to the next level.
Cube Buddies is a game where cute cartoon faces on the cubes have been mixed up and it is your job to put them back together. Tilt, turn, and match cubes together to swap the parts around.
Word Caravan is a fun word puzzle game where the letters are scrambled and you have to put the cubes in the right order to unscramble the word. It's a lot of fun for wordy people, and educational for kids learning to spell.
Code Cracker looks and plays a lot like Peno’s Vault from the old cubes. That is because it is Peno's Vault. More math to make your brain hurt, unless you are a mathematician.
Sifteo has also partnered up with Nickelodeon to create games for Sifteo Cubes. The first is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ninja Slide. You help turtles navigate through the maze of the sewers, collecting pizza and cleaning up ooze, while avoiding dangerous obstacles and fighting enemies. Tilt, tap, shake, and move the cubes around to reach the end and move on to the next level.
Currently they even have more games slated to come out later this year. One that has me slightly intrigued only has the developers name attached, Richard Garfield. You might not know his name but you are probably familiar with a game he created, Magic: The Gathering. I am EXTREMELY curious to see what he does with the Sifteo Cubes.
I really enjoy the new Sifteo Cubes, just like I did the originals. It’s a great mix of the classical hands on gaming with moving pieces around added to current cutting edge technology. The expandability of the system out to twelve cubes really opens it up to something I can see a family or a group of friends gathering around to play together. The only problem I found is the new Sifteo Cubes are not compatible with the old, which is understandable since the new system works a little differently than the old and battery life between the two is so varied.
With all these great improvements and new games I find it much easier to recommend the Sifteo Cubes this time around.
For more information on the Sifteo Cubes see their web site.