Thereís a fine line in as to what constitutes linearity in video games and what is simply an interactive experience that a computer holds the userís hand through. EDGE walks this line, ever unsure as to where its intention truly lie. It seems a curious comparison for a puzzle game, but EDGE feels instantly comparable to PlayStation 2 space-shooter Rez; a therapeutic waltz from A to B, an experience rather than strictly a challenge. Whichever side of the interactive fence EDGE sits on for the player, it does so with style but not necessarily with quality.
EDGE is a full downloadable game based on a popular flash release of the same name. It is a puzzle game where the player is required to move his cubed character over a perfectly cubic environment, to reach the end of the level. There are also prisms to collect en route, but no obligation to do so. There is little challenge; rarely are there multiple paths through the level and falling off the edge/ídyingí results in an instant respawn often just seconds from the place of our cubeís demise. This completely removes any sense of challenge or frustration that the later levels can provide. In many cases, such is the expectation of the player failing that many platforms simply require you to fail in order to see the path to progress along.
The core challenge that EDGE presents to the player, particularly in the early stages, is simply how to control the cube in a skilled manner. As your cube gains momentum, it becomes more difficult to direct. There is also a delicate balance between applying enough pressure to roll once and too much resulting in more momentum than desired. With this, such an aptly-titled game, it becomes ever more tempting to quit after every mistake. If any joy can be taken from this, itís that Two Tribes have created an accurate physics model for our lesser-loved cube. Itís the laws of physics and geometry that cruelly gyrate themselves around our frustrations rather than its programmer. This knowledge wonít comfort the player as they fall beyond the level for the fifth consecutive time. The challenging aspect of a puzzler should be finding the solution, not fumbling with the execution.
Many of the levels themselves have a huge amount of character. Considering each level is structured from cubes of the same dimensions, the designers must be commended for their creativity if anything. From simple moving platforms to automated walking machines, our cube rolls carefree through the levels by moving in just four directions. EDGE comes into itself more so in the later levels as navigating them becomes more challenge than trial and error, offering hope that perhaps it is as polished an experience as it looks. Sadly, being able to move in just four directions means that the repetition soon kicks in and later levels begin to feel like a more difficult parody of earlier ones. Reducing the time to roll across a moving platform seems an intuitive way to make a level more difficult, but this simply enhances the problem of EDGEís controls. Take a Malteaser and roll it across a smooth surface. Now do the same for a jelly cube. Itís this fundamental problem than prevents the later levels from carrying the momentum; playing soon becomes a result of perseverance than enjoyment.
Itís difficult to criticise EDGE for being a bad game when itís simply a well-executed product of frustrating concept. Until the latter stages, itís a simple albeit handicapped walk through a series of refreshing virtual environments. The puzzles are genuinely taxing from time to time, but these are bogged down by a lack of real control over your cube. However, as an economically-friendly download, these flaws shouldnít deter those interested from making a purchase. There is a respectable amount of content and itís rare that a game with genuine artistic merit comes along in the Ďmarble puzzleí genre. For all its problems, at its worst itís a welcome distraction from Angry Birds and Peggle.
Six out of ten