It's easy to look at EDGE and get it confused with fellow puzzle game RUSH; both games are based on my second favourite platonic solid (the cube), both involve navigating these cubes to an end point, and both have catchy four-letter titles. Both games are even published by Two Tribes. However, whereas RUSH is an original creation by Two Tribes, EDGE started life as an iOS game by Mobigame, and has now made its way over to Steam.
The two games are really rather different, so we'll end the comparison right there. The objective of EDGE is to navigate a cube across a level which is itself made up of cubes. You use the cursor keys to send the cube in different directions, and it will happily roll along a flat surface or off an edge. When it comes to walls, things are more interesting. You can roll up a wall if it's only one cube high, or you can hang off a wall in a technique known as 'edging'. It's a tricky skill to pull off as you find yourself tapping the keys at the right pace in order to avoid going too far and attempting to roll, or too little and simply falling off the wall. It could be a bit too frustrating for some, and it is a required skill in some levels - particularly the later ones - in order to proceed, though it should be noted that I've found it no more difficult than the original touchscreen version.
You need to make your way to that square of coloured tiles
It's probably already clear that this isn't a simple obstacle course as the levels are full of activity. They are incredibly dynamic, with falling floors, blocks appearing and moving walls to 'edge' on to. Sometimes it's to provide a challenge, sometimes it's to make the level more aesthetically interesting, and sometimes it's so the game can take you on an exciting ride. The continually altering structure of some of the levels makes them exciting and unpredictable. Admittedly the novelty wears off when you're retrying a section for the tenth time, but it does make an unbroken run all the more satisfying.
You will be trying some sections over and over again because you do die a lot in EDGE. Not quite to the same extent as One Epic Game, but getting through a level on your first go without toppling over an edge or being surprised by a sneaky moving block is quite rare. Death has limited consequence on your progress as you respawn instantly, and thankfully the checkpoints (which are invisible to the player) are very common, so you won't lose much progress. There are also no lives, so if you persevere you should be able to get through every level eventually. However, deaths will impact your score and ranking at the end of a level, and these are important for those who want to compete online.
Edging in action
In a sense, EDGE is both a puzzle game and a platformer, but not fully one or the other. There's plenty of moments where you'll need to get your timing right, particularly with edging, in order to navigate the labyrinths of the levels, but it's certainly not dominated by these. Equally, you'll often have to use your wits to figure out where to go or what combination of switches to activate, but the puzzles are just a part of progress, rather than the objective in themselves. EDGE works well by blending the two and encouraging you to go forward as quickly as you can, incurring as few deaths and spending as little time spent figuring things out as possible. From this it drives the leaderboards culture; completing all the levels in EDGE will take a few hours, but the challenge in each one isn't to finish it, but to do so in the best way possible. And then tell the world, thanks to the instantly updating Steam leaderboards.
The one issue getting in the way of this is that the controls don't always feel precise enough. There were many occasions where I found it too easy to simply roll of the edge when you weren't expecting the cube to act in the way it did. A simple tap of a key doesn't make a block roll over, you're actually pulling it over as if you were dragging it on a touchscreen, and it can be a little too easy to take it a step further than planned. While I admit to being a little clumsy here, and I'm certainly not going to be topping any of the leaderboards, it is an issue which may dog those competing for the top. When timing is essential you need the game to react in a way you expect, and this isn't always the case in EDGE. It is, however, a rare issue and most of the time my failures really were my own, and I accepted that. In fact, I never once gave up on a level in rage, instead I was always hooked to play more, particularly when they are set up as well-designed five minute bursts.
Sometimes your cube is shrunk down, allowing you to climb all the way up walls
There are a huge number of levels on offer in EDGE, particularly since Two Tribes introduced the free "EDGE Extended" content pack in recent weeks. Initially there were 48 levels plus bonus levels, but the company kindly offered up an extra 45 levels to match the new release in the iOS App Store. They feature a range of different types of experience, including races against a notorious black cube who might beat you to switches which may hinder you. If you play every level back-to-back then you might find some feel a bit too familiar, but I don't believe this is the type of game where you sit down for four or five hours and attempt to complete it (unless you really are obsessing over those high scores). EDGE works especially well in bursts, where you try a few levels at a time, or maybe try one level repeatedly to try and beat your friends' best efforts. However, it is rather addictive, so never expect a 15 minute session to last only that amount of time.
EDGE excels both visually and aurally. The simplistic graphic design allows the levels themselves to stand out, particular all the dynamic pieces flying about the levels. The action would feel cluttered if the levels were colourful, but instead uses a simple palette, usually of whites, greys, blacks, and hints of other colours. This style is completed by the audio which encourages the game to be played with headphones, where the two parts will absorb you.