Reviewed: August 18, 2011
Released: August 11, 2011
EDGE is a brand new ďretro-styled platform gameĒ on Steam from Two Tribes, creators of puzzle games like Toki Tori and RUSH, both excellent games. While EDGE definitely contains puzzle-like elements, thereís definitely a much greater focus on quick reflexes and thinking on your feet. Itís a bit of a departure from Two Tribesí other outings, but trying to find the optimal solution for every level is just as cerebral a challenge as any.|
In EDGE, you take on the role of a cube that rolls around a series of stages trying to collect prism cubes and reach the exit tile. Along the way, youíll encounter tiles that fall shortly after you roll onto them, switches that change the landscape, moving platforms, ever-present bottomless drops, and many other things that make your job just a little bit harder. While you can expect to fall off the stage and die countless times, you just respawn at a point shortly before you fell. You have unlimited lives, but at the end of each stage, youíll be told how many prisms you collected, how long you took to reach the exit tile, and how many times you fell to your death, along with a letter grade. You canít technically lose at EDGE, but a poor grade is just as strong a motivator to go back and do it again properly.
The actual act of playing is simple. You can use your WASD keys, your arrow keys, your numpad keys, or a gamepad to make your cube roll over onto one of its sides or hold down a direction to make your cube keep rolling in that direction. If you collect prisms, youíll move faster.
If your cube wobbles on an edge, you get to subtract from your time at the end. Oh, and to get an S+ rating for a level, the highest rating possible, youíll need to collect every cube. While you can take your time getting through each level, a player thatís doing well is going to rush for prisms as quickly as they can, speeding up more and more as the stage goes on, and teetering on the edge of the stage at every 90-degree turn. With such a minor penalty for actually falling off the edge, itís easy to get caught up in attempting dangerous maneuvers to shave a few seconds off your time.
In terms of visual style, EDGE bears a strong resemblance to Marble Madness. The background is black, and thereís a simple gridded stage suspended in space. However, every square on it has a point, since those are actually markers for the space your cube can occupy and how far it will move per rotation. However, it also feels like RUSH. The surfaces are clean and undetailed, but taken as a whole; it comes off as futuristic instead of plain. While the style is definitely retro and minimalist, the actual graphical quality is sharp. Donít expect to see any intentional pixilation in the stages. Itís a game that, while not breathtaking to look at, stands strong.
The soundtrack is a lot like the gameplay and graphics. Itís a retro style, but filtered through modern sensibilities. It sounds like someone took a NES soundtrack, played it on a synthesizer, and threw in a few embellishments to keep things interesting. The sound effects are treated similarly. The sound is nothing to get terribly excited about and is fairly forgettable, but it contributes well enough to the mood.
EDGEís gameplay is fun, and the desire to try to get a perfect score in every stage is strong, but because the cubeís controls are deliberately limited, movement can sometimes be frustrating, especially when trying to get used to the momentum of a rolling cube and figure out just how many times itíll flip when you let go of the movement keys. A general lack of gameplay modes also means that when you get tired of playing, you usually end up stopping altogether instead of trying another mode. Still, the gameís simplicity and ease of play keeps me coming back to it.
Aesthetically, the game has style, but itís lacking something. It tries to be retro, but it looks a little too polished and its movements are a little too smooth. If it had wanted to look more futuristic, it should have taken an example from RUSH and used more colors and organic movement. If it wanted to look more retro, it should have attempted to have rougher animations and sound. Itís a unique style, and in time, you get used to it, but it seems torn between two worlds.
Overall, EDGE is a solid title if you give it a chance. Donít expect to play the game in extremely long sessions. Pick it up, and when you canít figure something out, put it back down. Later, youíll probably figure out a better way to go about things, and then you can pick it up again. On top of that, itís only $8, so it doesnít exactly break the bank.
Still, if you arenít normally a fan of a style of play that involves pushing yourself to your limits and beating your old scores, you may want to consider Two Tribesí other offerings over this, especially Toki Tori.