On Edge

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Mobigame’s Edge has probably gotten more attention than most mobile games, partly due to its troubles with a copyright troll. There’s probably a good chance though that the game still hasn’t gotten enough attention for how good it is. I also want to talk about the central problem that I feel has dogged Edge across like four platforms.

Edge (and its expansion pack) is basically a really good puzzle platformer available for iOS, Android, PC, and a bunch of other stuff I’ll probably list below. You roll a cube over and around rectangular obstacles to collect smaller cubes and reach the goal of each stage. For those who may toss their nose up at in-app purchases or free-to-play, Edge has none of that. It’s just a good old-style game with a unique premise, excellent level design, and very cool yet simple graphics.

Edge is an example of one of those puzzle games that takes a simple concept and runs with it through continually inventive level design. Just rolling a one rectangle over other rectangles is simple enough, but it quickly get’s pretty insane when you’re dealing with shifting platforms, speeding traffic, and giant mechs made of cubes. I’m still trying to get the hang of the game’s titular trick — hanging the edge of a cube on moving objects in order to travel along walls.

I also really like how the game looks — somehow managing to be simple yet also technically impressive. I mean, it’s just cubes rolling around with some subtle glow effects in the base game. When I read the description for the expansion though it noted improved graphics and gameplay running at a smooth 60 frames per second. I was shocked to be able to tell the difference immediately. The special effects are jazzed up just enough to make the game look flashier, and the game itself actually does look faster and smoother. Mobigame timing the update alongside the introduction of the iPhone’s retina display didn’t hurt.

I’m one of the first people who’ll tell you mobile gaming is probably 99 percent crap, but for almost as long as I’ve owned an iPhone I’ve tried to hold up Edge is part of the platform’s one percent.

All that said, if I were to succinctly describe all my feelings on Edge, I’d call it an excellent game in search of the right control scheme.

The fact that the mobile version has three different control schemes: tilt, rub, and virtual Dpad, in my opinion spells out the problem. I won’t lie: half the time I die in this game it’s because I slipped up with the controls. I keep switching between schemes on my iPhone, and for a while I kept waiting for a version of this game I could play with some buttons. Even after those conversions came, I still haven’t found the perfect control interface for Edge. It’s one of the reasons why the aforementioned wall trick is so hard to pull off.

Even most people who know about Edge probably don’t know that there’s a PlayStation Minis version playable on the PS3 and PSP (and I presume Vita). I think it’s pretty much the base game but of course with the benefit of a PlayStation controller.

The problem there though is Edge’s isometric camera is fixed at an angle skewed diagonally to the directions of a conventional Dpad. It’s probably necessary for the style of the game, but because of it you’re never pressing up, down, left, or right — only diagonal directions. Things work if you only press he diagonal Dpad directions but it’s still not a perfect glove fit.

The closest thing to a “definitive” edition of Edge is probably the Steam edition for PC, Mac, and Linux. I’m pretty sure it’s the base game with the expansion along with some achievements and controller support. That controller support is more or less the same as the PlayStation version but the Steam edition’s higher resolution really puts it above and beyond (unless you count playing it on a retina iPad). Sadly, hooking a PC up to a TV is probably the closest you can get right now to playing Edge on a console in HD.

Anyway, despite the paragraphs I devoted to chronicling my troubles with this game, I still think Edge is absolutely worth the ultra-low process Mobigame probably charges for it.

BULLETS:

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