Technology has come a long way since when I was a child, almost everyone has some form of a digital toy or device these days, items such as mobile phones, games consoles, or ‘WowWee Pinkfong Baby Shark Official Song Puppet‘. So, what became of the toys of yesteryear such as the Rubik’s Cube? Simple answer, the concept of this toy has been modernised for the 21st century and brought into the digital age. However, the product I’m looking at isn’t by Rubik’s, it’s the GiiKER Supercube, a toy which is much more than a physical puzzle.
Looking on Amazon, there’s a bunch of GiiKER cubes on sale, some of them are even much more expensive than the special edition one which I was kindly provided for review. The one I have, the i3 Special Edition (which is in the sidebar), is perfect for a gift due to its incredibly cute display stand and charging attachment. Also, to use all of the additional features which this modernised puzzle comes with, you’ll need a device running at least Android 4.4 or iOS 8.
Does the puzzle need an introduction? I imagine everyone knows how a Rubik’s Cube puzzle works but for those who don’t, here’s a simple explanation… The cube itself is made up of nine smaller cubes on each of the six sides, each side originally being made up of a single colour. The first thing you do is ‘mess up’ the cube by twisting and turning the columns and rows of small cubes so that the unit has random colours all over the place. Now, it’s up to the player to skillfully rotate the cubes in order to try and return it to how it looked originally – six sides made up of a single colour each. It’s much trickier than it sounds but there are people out there who have studied these for years who can solve the puzzle in under five seconds!
In terms of the quality of the GiiKER Supercube, I personally think it’s one of the best cubes I’ve played with. The joints are all nice and clicky thanks to the magnetic design, yet loose enough to spin freely, and the stickers are all very distinct and bright with none peeling or falling off after hours of use so far. Also, as I mentioned above, the GiiKER Supercube i3 Special Edition comes with a really cute stand and accessory. The stand looks like a robotic body with its hands behind its back, which you simply place the cube on top of – so it becomes its head! Also, whilst you have the cube detached, your phone can use the headless body as a secure stand (as below). The cube securely clips back in place when not in use, but is easy enough to pull off when you want to play with it. The accessory is a cute headphone-like attachment which is actually where you plug the micro USB cable to charge up the cube.
That’s right, as I said previously, and based on the title of this review, the GiiKER Supercube is more than a standard physical toy, it interacts with an application on your phone or tablet device in order to teach you how to play, guide you how to revert the cube back to its original state, and even play mini-games with the cube as your ‘controller’. Because of this, you’ll need to charge the cube up every now and again when the internal battery runs low (which was a few weeks for me).
The digital side
First of all, the device I’ve been using to connect to my GiiKER Supercube is the iPad Air 2 and I’ve had no issues with connectivity, it just works! As long as you’re near the tablet and you spin the cube at least once so that it ‘wakes up’, the iPad found it, connected, and synced up within seconds. There are six functions within the application, as well as renaming your cube (if multiple people have one), resetting the number of moves you’ve done, and changing the colour theme within the app. Here’s a brief rundown of what they are…
Tutorial: There are nine rather comprehensive tutorials which teach you all about the puzzle, gives you hints on what to look out for when completing it on your own, it offers advanced training, and even gives you a quiz after each tutorial to ensure you’ve taken in what it’s teaching you. It’s like being at school all over again!
Battle: Surprisingly, you can play against real people online using your physical cube! Once you start this mode, you have a set time to follow the instructions and scramble you cube as it does on-screen. Then, you have to try and solve it as fast as you can – all whilst your opponent somewhere else in the world is doing the same. This is a really cool idea and it worked flawlessly, it’s a shame that I suck at solving the cube though!
Patterns: This mode is interesting. The app shows you a bunch of images of various patterns such as flowers made out of certain colours on the cube. Picking any of these will simply give you step by step instructions on how to replicate the design with your own cube. Don’t worry if you’ve scrambled up your cube either, it knows exactly where all the colours are so it’ll guide you based on the state your cube is in at that moment. It’s really clever.
Solver: This one does exactly what it says on the tin. As I just stated, the cube is fitted with sensors internally, so it knows what condition your GiiKER Supercube is in. So, picking this option will give you a visual walkthrough of how to return the cube back to its original design – basically solving the puzzle for you. The great thing about this is, it’s never taken more than 35 steps to solve any scrambled cube for me – so far.
The application also offers four games for you to play, games which use the physical cube as a rather intuitive controller despite if it’s currently scrambled or not. The games included are:
Colour Memory: This game reminded me a little of ‘Bop-it’ and Simon Says in the way the mechanics work. The app will flash up a few colours, one after another, and you need to replicate by twisting the face of the cube which has that colour in the centre of it (as the centre colour never changes). The aim is to do as many as you can without either running out of time or losing all your ‘health’ due to twisting the wrong colour.
Pixel Puzzle: I found this game quite interesting as it’s the reverse of ‘Patterns’ which I mentioned above. You’re given a picture of what the app wants you to replicate on your cube, along with a real-time representation of your cube and its colours. You have to ‘simply’ recreate the pattern in order to win the game and move on to the next puzzle. Your time is recorded but there’s no way to ‘lose’ this game unless you give up.
Cube Crush: Two words, Guitar Hero (or Rock Band, if you prefer). Just like Colour Memory, you’ll be rotating the sides of the cube based on the colour in the middle, only this time you’re turning them to stop markers from reaching the other end of the screen. The game is laid out like Guitar Hero with six pathways and the various colours dropping either on their own or in multiples as you get further. Miss too many colours and it’s game over!
Cube Miner: I’d say this is the trickiest of the bunch as you have a rotations limit for each stage. On the screen you’ll see a figure and some coins sat upon your cube, you need to rotate the device in your hands to move the guy around to collect all the coins then land on the exit in order to win. Seeing the virtual cube move in tandem with you in real life is quite surreal and a really fun experience.
I remember having a Rubik’s Cube when I was a child, it used to frustrate me so much that I would usually end up peeling off the stickers and then putting them back to make it look like I’d solved it! The GiiKER Supercube physically won’t let you do that as it knows exactly where the colours are, even if you’ve been naughty and done some manual ‘restructuring’ on it. However, I never found myself getting annoyed or fed up with this modernised version of the puzzle because whenever I got stuck I simply loaded up the app, went to ‘solver’ and then allowed myself to see one or two moves in the right direction before I closed the app again. As such, I managed to complete the puzzle a few times, which was quite a proud moment for me!
The extra activities you get via the app are also really fun and not something you’d expect to come with one of these cubes, especially the games. The app is obviously free and I had no issues at all with connectivity but there are people who have left comments on both the Apple and Android stores saying they had issues with it not connecting. As long as the cube has a decent amount of charge, you have Bluetooth enabled on your device, and you twist the cube at least once, it should find it with no issues (at least it did for me). Also, just to confirm if there’s an issue with Android, I downloaded the app on my Xperia E5 on Android 6.0 and it connected fine, a little slow, but it worked.
I personally think the GiiKER Supercube is a great modernisation of the classic puzzle game. It perfectly combines both a physical toy with digital applications, allowing the gamer to play the classic game wherever they want and then try out the more technical games when they have their devices with them.
Whether you’re looking for a gift or out to treat yourself, the GiiKER Supercube i3 Special Edition is a brilliant modernised Rubik’s Cube. Working alongside an Android or Apple device, the cube is so much more than a physical puzzle as it provides tutorials, games, online battles, and even a smart solver which can unscramble whatever mess you’ve made of the cube. The design of this particular unit is so adorable, the stand and the headphones make the cube look like a giant head on the body of a lazy robot taking a break from life. My unit is sat on my shelf with my gaming figurines and it fits in perfectly!
GiiKER Supercube i3 Special Edition£34.99
- - Great combination of both a physical and digital toy
- - The device itself spins and rotates really smoothly with nothing getting caught or rubbing
- - The app worked perfect for me on both iOS and Android, offering games, tutorials and clever solving tools
- - The toy looks great, even when not in use, thanks to the intuitive stand and funky charging headphones
- - A single charge will last a very long time with average use
- - Rubik's Cubes aren't everyone's cup of tea, so the enjoyment someone will get out of it depends on the person