The future is right in front of us. Ways to play are absolutely unlimited. There are computer and console games, ever expanding board games, and then there are attempts at something new. New ideas of what could be entertaining… The Czech Republic’s Princip Interactive has taken the essence of classic low-res cellphone games like Tetris or Snake, added a good splash of color and sound, thrown in some challenging physical twists and turns, and created the Futuro Cube.
Inside the box:
After opening the box, there is a sheet of paper waiting for you with Czech-English instructions. Each of languages occupies exactly one A3 page described by four columns of text. We will return to the content, but now we are more interested in the main subject, which is hidden underneath. It is carefully and firmly established in cardboard insert with a hole in the middle. It’s a black cube, that has really unobtrusive appearance. On two opposite sides, there are two holes and one miniUSB connector, otherwise its smooth on all sides.
After connecting, you will hear cube talk for the first time: it will deliver a message, you will probably know by heart after a few days with Futuro Cube: “Hope you brought your cash, cause we’re charging!”. That does not mean anything other than your Future Cube is really being charged. Blue LEDs revolve around first bottom row and how the cube is gradually being charged, they progress up until one final dot arrives in the middle of top side of the cube, where it stops to let you know, that your toy is fully charged.
Don’t be fooled by the simple elegance of this little black cube. By spreading gameplay over all six sides, the Futuro Cube adds whole new levels of difficulty to its pre-loaded games, puzzles and brain-teasers. Out of the box, there’s an insanely difficult-looking version of Gomoku, a clever take on Tetris called Cubris, and the ever popular Snake is given a whole new lease of life. It would be a waste of a good opportunity if a Rubik-inspired game wasn’t included, so Princip has produced the Gravity Puzzle. Each face of the cube has nine RGB LED light modules in a 3 x 3 configuration, with 64 or 255 pulse-width modulation (PWM) steps for each color component to cater for variable brightness and flashing rates. The faces are not touch panels, but the built-in MEMS 3-axis accelerometer is able to determine when a surface has been tapped or turned. The sensors are also able to keep track of which face is pointing up, and register motion and gesture patterns.
The brain of the Futuro Cube is a Cortex M3 ARM-based processor supported by 128 MB of onboard NAND Flash memory. The device runs on a 1 Ah Li-Pol battery that offers a solid 3 hours of continuous play, with recharging taking some 2 hours over micro USB (which is also used for firmware upgrades and resources upload via Windows/Mac computer). A 2.4 GHz proprietary wireless radio link caters for multi-player fun with other Futuro Cube players up to five meters apart.
I was provided the Futuro Cube as a review sample. Head over Futuro website to know more about their products.