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..
Small black cube. If Doctor Who (yes, that Time Lord) saw it, he would probably be looking for some alien invasion. Or tiny little man inside. Or Daleks with their eternal hatred to all, who came from Galifrey planet and a desire to rule all worlds in the universe..
But this is not science fiction, this is happening in your home. It’s Czech company Principle, who brought us this model and called it PSC01. Mysterious codename hides a small box with thick walls. It could serve as a temporary home of creatures, who fill your hands with entertainment and puzzles. Futuro Cube is coming. Are you ready?
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.
On the side with connector, you will find more interesting informations. Specifically, statement “Made in Czech Republic” and charging values 5V at 500 mA. According to specification, there is a rechargeable Li-Polymer battery isnide, which should guarantee a long life and saving you from constant buying batteries. But all traits are not over yet. To see finally something special, you will need a second component, which is located at the very bottom of the box and that is just miniUSB cable. Feel free to connect the cube to your PC or any other suitable USB connectible device.
And that is place, where first surprise is waiting for you, which was ruined a little by image on the box. Beneath the surface of the entire cube, there are 54 LEDs deployed, which can light up with a few colors each and all in three different intensities. Thanks to this, cube has a lot of different uses and we gradually look, how the authors managed to accomplish them.
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.
And we finally come to things, that Future Cube can do. Flashing is really the first, but not last. Actually, we already know speaking as well, but unfortunately everything is only in English. But that’s not all. Futuro Cube has two other distinctive features, that are worth mentioning. Well actually three. The first of them is accelerometr. It allows cube to always easily recognize, which side is currently at the bottom and on top.
Cube also detects, when you tap on it. It knows even the side of the cube you hit with your fingertip. And this is property to appreciative with a nodding head. But we’re still not done. This beauty has a wireless (some kind of radio) connection! No, really we are not kidding. For most of the time, it remains off, but if you want to play one of available multiplayer games, then its activated and is able to communicate with second Futuro Cube to a distance of five meters..
So. A lot of interesting new ideas certainly popped in your head. Nice! Write them down first, before your thinking process will be undermined with our article. Authors of Futuro Cube will definitely thank you, if you send them your ideas by mail and maybe some of them get incorporated in new versions of firmware. Finally, someone realized that connection to PC is not only for charging, but is also applicable to further develop the toy. BRAVO!
But back to basic version of firmware which is currently in the Future Cube. As soon as you feed it and charge properly, you can plunge into exploring its mysteries. So if you have ever treat yourself in spoilers printed in form of rules, all cubes mysteries melts down easily. One sheet of paper guides you in how to actually use the cube.
The task of our article is not to list all the things and games, you can play, but rather to highlight some of them. Overall, abilities of this small inconspicuous cubes, are divided into three colorful menu. To get to them, you need to learn one little trick. To enter the basic game menu, you have to spin it with your wrist. And this is also the only trick, which will recover you back from all games into menu.
Spinning sounds simple, right? But these circle must be about the size of a CD, and you must not do it with your wrist, but instead by moving whole hand, as you would spin cube around a flat surface. Actually you must create a circle in one dimension only, while should not move it up and down. Initially, you will often spin in despair. Once you succeed at first, you will know the trick, but sometimes it will get you hard time anyways. Over time, it will improve.
Other controls are already intuitive. Once you get with a successful spin into basic blue menu, you can operate the cube. Currently blue color will initially be your favorite, because it contains some real treats for beginners. Choose a specific game by turning cube. Game chosen is always the one, whose symbol is located at the top. Tapping top side runs it, two tappings will run help with its playing and three consecutive knocks return you to initial state, once you are inside a game.
You move to next menu (green) by tapping side of the cube. Left is back, right means forward. Green menu is focused on multiplayer games and also on puzzles. Last red menu contains mostly things about setting and also Sokoban (yes, the classic one) and Dream Quest, which is a mysterious walk through a maze with strong emphasis on the spatial imagination and memory.
But back to the beginning and the blue menu, where are two basic game, in which will you practice all your Futuro Cube skills. There’s a Road Runner and Snake. We start with the second one, so popular and famous serpent, which celebrated its greatest popularity on Nokia phones. Now he returns to us in a new, cubiform design.
And how will you controly this long and hungry creature? By rotating the cube. The snake is always crawling upwards. You must rotate cube in a way, that you navigate snake towards red apples. Snake itself is green and, of course, increases length with each apple eaten. You have to endure as long as possible without crashing into your own tail. Futuro Cube will communicate score achieved in the end, when you fail to continue.
We now return to second of the above games, which is sprinting Road Runner. Everything here evolves around observation, because you have to preserve one running dot, which randomly changes direction, on top of the cube. This means you constantly seemingly chaotically rotate it. Your skills in this game will be raising really quickly as you train. Its easy, fun to play and watch. Its one of my favourites.
Basic menu includes also cubic Gomoku, where you build line despite the corners and fight with AI of the cube itself. Perfect empasis on three-dimensional effect makes it a real challenge. Then there is great Gravity Puzzle, which is the first solitary puzzle, we encounter. This is analogous to the Rubik cube, but colors flip over here in another way. It is challenging and provides fun for a long time with in a creative way.
We now skip Tetris (Cubris respectively) and move to games for multiple opponents. When you own also second cube and run multiplayer game, they automatically find each other and connect. You can measure your skills with one adversary. And there are still maintained both advantages of the third dimension and simplicity of the whole cube principle.
It is this rivalry with two adversaries, where is Futuro Cube the best. Its much more fun than playing just for yourself. Each of players has his cube and may seek to outwit his opponent, whether it is in classical Gomoku or two other games. But back to Gomoku. They could be basically played in two on one cube, but this way has each of the rivals much more place and time to think.
Magical duels against each other are greatest weapon in Multi Cubris game. This means a simple Tetris against each other! Both dice offer the same set of bricks to their owners. And it is up to them and their skills, how many points are recorded and who wins. They should carefully plan every move, but at the same time keep in mind, that even the player who finishes first, gets extra points! Just the same set of shapes makes it our most popular game of all in Futuro Cube.
We have also Multi Connect game, which on one cube is played directly against AI Futuro Cube. Now it is simply replaced by human intelligence, when adding a second player. Connecting two opposite points on the cube has never been harder, than when you play against another player.
Very popular among all players is also relaxing playing on piano. It seemingly has only six tones, but in reality, tones differ according to cube rotation! This way you have 36 tones to play! It will be a long time, before you to learn to play music with it, but then the result can really amaze and impress. You can easily learn to play a scale, but you dare to?
And then there’s the fact, that authors are already working on the first update. It corrects some minor shortcomings and criticisms of some games difficulties. In current version, interference can occur, while playing with a pair of cubes. This will be corrected with new firmware version. But also cube personalization is waiting for us, as well as improvements in artificial intelligence in games Connect and Gomoku.
Do we also have some ideas? Of course. The first one is, that cube could act as a radion, when connected to computer. It would use its color LEDs to respond intelligently to the music. For example, the sides can be the equalizer, or you can have name of the MP3 track running along the sides of dice or simply elegant musical chaos could be played according to a song.
The only thing, which will spoil the fun of all that for you (and us) is the original price tag of this Futuro Cube. Yes, inside there is a lot of sensors, technologies, and we have to pay for know-how and ideas. Perhaps this is the only thing, that ultimately justifies the high price and can not be taken for up to impossibly high. But according to it, cubes makes more sense for fans of geeky and technological advances. It would be a great advantage for children and practicing many skills. Orientation in 3D, predicting, reasoning, music perception, but also the simple kinetic skill. Everything is here..
So, what do you think about Futuro Cube? The first thing to take off oru hat is courage of authors, who made it to the finishing line with such an idea. Slight technical deficiencies will be corrected via update published free of charge. If you start your race using quite expensive Futuro Cube is up to you as players. However, we can advise you, that Futuro Cube is truly unique and is poised to great success.
+ simple design
+ brilliant idea
+ lots of games
+ firmware upgrade
+ two cubes can play against each other
+ classical game in 3D and also against cube AI
- rotation for menu is hard to learn
- some games get boring with time
- some games require second cube