A few weeks ago, we got a rather interesting package in the mail as the PR people for Rubik's, the company behind the Rubik's Cube, sent us a bunch of cubes! It isn't too often we get educational gaming sent to us for review. That said, if anyone out there is making a new Carmen SanDiego game, please hit us up. But we've never turned down the chance to explore practical games that can be used for fun and to teach people a thing or two. So we explored and reviewed all of the different things the company sent and currently has on sale for you.
First off, let's get this random item out of the way. We got a Rubik's Cube denim hat. It's a hat, nothing too glamorous about it as far as the design goes, beyond the idea that it has a standard Rubik's Cube on it like the one you see below. If you dig having a hat with the game on it, this is for you.
We were also sent a Rubik's Cube full of candy. Normally, I don't shy away from free treats, but these didn't taste all that great to us. They're designed to be tiny squares of this hard candy that you suck on first until it breaks down and then you can chew it up. But the flavoring just isn't there and it tastes like chalk when you get to the end. Whatever this candy is, please, replace it.
Next up, we got a Rubik's Cube keychain. This is actually a little adorable as you can just snap this onto your regular chain and play with a tiny Rubik's Cube anywhere you go. It is a little cumbersome if you're looking to keep your keys in your pocket, but if you're just someone who grabs them and tosses them in a bag, it's a cool little game on the go.
Now we get into the weird territory as we have a Rubik's Triamid. The same principle behind the cube, only this time transformed into several six-sided hexagon pieces that snap together into each other. Basically, you can either take it apart and have people reconstruct it how it needs to be put together, or you can switch all the pieces around and have someone figure it out on their own. I enjoyed messing with this one, but it is also pretty easy to solve when you get the basics down on its construction.
Another interesting addition was the Tactile Cube. I would say this is more for someone with sight impairment, maybe colorblind, or someone who is blind. While it's a good teaching tool for anyone who can see with 20/20 vision, the different shapes that stick out on each side make it easier for someone who might not be able to see perfectly (or at all) to get in on the fun and learn how a Rubik's Cube works. It was definitely one of the better versions to play around with.
The most challenging of the bunch was the Rubik's Tower. Again, the same principle as the cube, but this time turned into a 4x2x2 format to make a rectangle. While you may think its easier with only 16 blocks instead of 26, this one actually presents a few new challenges that the math on a cube won't solve. I actually own a Homer Simpson cube that uses the same math and it's a bit more challenging in this version.
Overall, Rubik's has a pretty decent line of products this year for you to check out during the holiday season. The winners in our minds, however, were the Triamid and the Tower. Simply because it's a new wrinkle on an old problem that will be fun for people to solve. The rest are the regular cubes with different little things to make them stand out, which is fine, but not totally innovative. But they all make for good educational toys, and that's what matters.