The GoCube Edge is a modern reinvention of the classic puzzle cube. It pairs with an app to bring cube lessons and competition to the masses, and I think it’s the best way to learn how to solve a puzzle cube.
Yes, this is a $100 “smart” Rubik’s Cube styled toy (there’s also an $80 version that doesn’t come with accessories, friend-battles, or leaderboards). I wish it was less expensive, but if you’re a big fan of puzzle cubes, then it may be worth $100 to you. It may also make a great gift if you know anyone who’s generally obsessed with cubes.
Before we get into what makes the GoCube Edge so great, I’ll try to explain what it does and why it costs between $80 and $100. It’s basically a glorified Rubik’s Cube with built-in proximity sensors and a Bluetooth transmitter. It connects to your phone or tablet via the GoCube app (iOS, Android) so that you can get personalized lessons and compete with other puzzle cube fans. The GoCube app even displays a 3D model of your cube at all times, which is super neat and futuristic.
For power, the GoCube comes with a charging stand and a two-pin peripheral charging cable (not Micro USB or USB-C). The charging stand looks nice, but it also doubles as a phone stand so you can comfortably look at your phone while using the GoCube. (As a side note, the $80 GoCube doesn’t come with a charging stand.)
The GoCube is also designed to be lightweight and fast—it’s what obsessive puzzle cube fans refer to as a “speed cube.” While I am by no means a “speed cuber,” I can appreciate that the GoCube hasn’t locked up on me, and it feels a lot smoother than a Rubik’s Cube. It’s also a bit smaller than a Rubik’s Cube, which makes it easier to control without moving your hands too much.
The GoCube feels more solid than a regular puzzle cube, but it still feels like a bratty kid could rip it apart if they really wanted to. I think it’s a great gift for kids, but I’d be hard-pressed to give this $100 toy to a kid who likes to break things.
Anyway, now that you know what the GoCube is and why it costs so dang much, let’s get into the nitty-gritty. Why is this toy so great for cube fans of all ages and skill levels?
This Might Be the Easiest Way to Learn the Cube
Back when I was in high school, one of my teachers assigned a two-week-long Rubik’s Cube “project” to all of her students. If you could solve the cube, you got a good grade. If not, you got a bad grade.
I got a bad grade on that assignment. In fact, I got the worst grade. While other students had no trouble reading and memorizing puzzle cube instruction books, the whole thing just didn’t make sense to me. Like pre-algebra, it just never clicked (pathetic, I know).
Seeing as I’ve spent my whole life being awful at the puzzle cube, I’m impressed by how much I’ve learned from the GoCube. In the GoCube app, there’s an “academy” mode that teaches you cube “algorithms,” which are just instructions on how to finish the cube. (These algorithms are expressed as things like “R,” which indicates a clockwise turn of the right side of the cube. It’s a bit weird at first, and young kids might need a bit of help getting past the introductory lessons.)
Thanks to the orientation sensors in the GoCube, its companion app observes how you follow lessons and corrects any mistakes you make along the way. The app also reinforces what you’ve learned by doing little throwbacks to old algorithms and lessons, and a few in-app videos will pop up if you have too much trouble following directions.
Some fun mini-games in the GoCube app are meant to reinforce cube algorithms. Among these mini-games are a cube-based synthesizer, a cube version of Simon (the toy), and a cube-painting game (kind of like Picross). But some of the mini-games are also blocked by “coming soon” labels, which (while limiting) shows that the GoCube developers are trying to keep the platform fresh over time.
As far as I know, this is the only way of learning the puzzle cube that involves visual, physical, and auditory instructions. I managed to get through these lessons (and solve the GoCube) in one day, although I will need to reinforce and review what I’ve learned if I actually want to remember how to do this in the future.
The GoCube Is Great for Competitive Cubers, Too
Once you’ve learned how to solve the cube through the GoCube Academy (you can skip the academy if you want), you’re ready to start competing against cubers around the globe.
The GoCube app has two competitive online games. One of them, called Scrambling, is a race to see who can follow instructions the fastest. The other game (which I’m terrible at), is called Pro Cuber. It’s a race to see who can solve a cube the fastest without instructions. You can also challenge your friends directly if they own a GoCube Edge. It’s worth noting that the $80 GoCube doesn’t have two-player with friends.
Before playing Pro Cuber, the app forces you and your opponent to scramble your cubes so that they’re identical. Then, once you’re in the game, you can see what your opponent is doing in real-time, which is stressful but cool. There are also leaderboards that track your wins, losses, and move count, and you can do a “Solo” run to see how fast you can solve a cube on your own (this solo time also goes on a leaderboard).
Because of the GoCube’s quality and accessibility, I think it could make a great gift for anyone who’s interested in puzzle cubes, regardless of their age or skill level. And while I do wish this toy was a little cheaper, and a little tougher, I’d still suggest it to anyone who likes puzzle cubes.
Here’s What We Like
- A fun toy for adults or children
- Might be the easiest way to learn the cube
- A good "speed cube" with online battles and stats
And What We Don't
- It's the most expensive puzzle cube I've ever seen
- Some kids will find a way to break the GoCube