Hark back to 1980 when the evil Dr Ernő Rubik launched his diabolical 3D puzzle bomb on an inspecting world. Fast forward 40 years later and its baaackkk! Enter GoCube. Only this time its gone high tech.
I was around when the Rubik’s Cube took the world by storm. It fascinated and frustrated the hell out of me. That six-sided cube and six coloured squares – red, yellow, green, blue, orange and white all had to align. Easy. That is what GoCube says too. Only it took its mad inventor Ernő a month to solve his first puzzle.
Today the record is 3.47 seconds (give that kid a job), with hundreds of millions of cubes sold. It was time for the mechanical cube to receive a tech update. GoCube is the connected version, and it is just as frustrating as the original.
There are over 43 quintillion ways (43,252,003,274,489,856,000) possible combinations. It’s a perfect task for a computer.
Elevator Pitch: Rubik’s Cube reimagined with an App
Warranty: 1-year – not ACL
Country of Manufacture: China
Particula is US-based smart-toy developer
GoCube started life as a Kickstarter project in 2019. It is a Bluetooth 5.0 connected Rubik’s Cube replete with a gyro/accelerometer, rechargeable battery and an Android or iOS app.
It starts innocently enough with all sides perfectly colour matched, and the app shows all movement in real-time – hint put it on an Android tablet or iPad for a little more screen real estate.
An interactive guide gets you started and explains GoCube nomenclature. Like twist right, left, up, down and pull your hair out.
There are challenges and cheats (and yes you will use them). You compete against yourself or others (including a leader board) to improve the solution speed. Fortunately, it does not explode after hours of use. Note that I did not use term ‘play’ because unless you have a masochistic streak, it is hard work.
Does GoCube improve logic and pattern recognition?
There is no doubt that prolonged use will sharpen the mind. I have been using it enough to know that it is all about thinking well beyond the end goal (all sides the same colour). It is about logic (how do I manipulate a 3x3x3 3D matrix to achieve the end goal).
You see Joe and Jane Average think very much on a 2D plane. They may be able to remember a fixed number of facts like ‘Jane wears a pink dress, red shoes and a white handbag’. Now, what did Jill, Jenny, Jade and Judy all wear? That is ‘stacked’ pattern recognition, and normal humans are not too good at that.
Is it addictive over and over again?
Being one never to let the machine beat me – it is more obsessive than addictive. And when (if) you solve it then a few quick wrist flips, and you are ready to start again. You see, I used to like doing impossipuzzles as well – pattern matching is something we all need to develop.
Multiple victims – yes
As long as you have the app, you can link to a nearby GoCube, so it is perfect for family use.
Is cheating, well cheating?
It would be if you did it all the time. I like that it can alert you to a false move – it makes you think. I like it that you can retake lessons.
Why not just an original Rubik’s cube?
Hey, that is all we had for forty years! Whereas Rubik’s Cube is abandoned in sock draws and relegated to shelves of cupboards I suspect this is a keeper. The review version has a decent charge stand, and I can see it sitting on the bedside table or TV room to help while away those interminable reality shows.
Would I buy GoCube?
Yes, but more to give to later generations as a reminder that there is more to life. But now that I have one, I suspect it will become a regular time-filler.