When you hear portable gaming, you probably think of something n smartphone, iPad or even a Nintendo 3DS or PlayStation Vita. Very seldom would you imagine thinking of a string of blocks. Sifteo has introduced an entirely new way to play with its Sifteo Cubes system.
Dubbed “Intelligent Play” by Sifteo, these innovative 1.5-inch cubes pack a great deal of technology. Each has a 32-bit ARM CPU built in, along with a 128-by-128-pixel display, a 2.4 GHz wireless radio for seamless interaction with one another, and rechargeable Lithium polymer batteries.
But the real innovation lies in the games themselves, and Sifteo is offering a few for download through their server now (which can be purchased through credits, going for 800-1200 credits — $8-$12 — each). Most of them are puzzle/strategy games, ones you can play with people of all ages, though there are a couple of stand-outs that we got to see on the show floor at CES.
One, called “Chroma Splash,” features multiple colored spheres with shapes printed on them. Your job is to turn coordinating blocks so that they match each other, eliminating the spheres that are connected. The game ends when you manage to get rid of all the colors, or if you have no others to match. It’s a simple little game, but fun.
Fans of Nintendo’s classic “Legend of Zelda” titles will enjoy “Sandwich Kingdom,” a game in which a hero has to make his way through an ever-changing world — which you line up by putting blocks into place — collecting food items and completing quests for allies and strangers alike. It’s got a splendid little 8-bit art style to it, along with plenty of comical anecdotes as you collect food items. [See also: Midway Arcade: Classic Gaming for Your iPhone or iPad ]
The Sifteo is also home to licensed game fare: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Ninja Slide,” based on the Nickelodeon animated show of the same name, is available for download. The game has you guiding the turtles through complex sewer mazes, which you change by moving around the blocks, as they seek the manhole exit.
The core Sifteo Cubes set-up, which consists of three blocks, is available for $130, and add-on cubes can be purchased for $29 apiece. That’s a bit costly, but with affordable games and a unique style of play, it might just change the way you look at gaming – even if you have to figure out some organizational skills.
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