12 May 2013

REVIEW: Games round-up

Cubes, spinning and lasers!

Enjoy the summer? Who knows, those three sunny days we had last week could be all the summer we get this year in dear old blighty. Just in case it is, and we're all in for a summer indoors sheltering from the rain, we took a look at some hot new games to keep you entertained at home until September.

Rubik's 2X2 Cube

First up is a brand new re-imaging of a classic; The Rubik's Cube. We've calculated that we spent approximately 65% of our childhood fiddling with one of those tricky little sods, and to this day we have still, shamefully, never completed one. Well, unless you count that time a hammer, some glue and lots of lying to our friends were employed. If you have been similarly beaten by the colourful plastic cuboid, then relax, as we might have the product for you.

The Rubik's 2X2 Cube is just that; a Rubik's that is two squares wide, tall and deep - rather than the traditional three. This now means that each side has only four coloured squares, as opposed to nine. We could get into how many million fewer combinations this smaller cube can therefore be put into, but we wont. Because we're not clever enough.

So what you have is a smaller, simpler version of the Rubik's Cube, one that even we managed to complete (we were so damn happy!). But don't think that this version is any less fun - we certainly had a blast and found ourselves completing it again and again, often with mixed results.

It is a perfect little toy to have laying around, waiting to be used in moments of free hand time. Waiting for the kettle to boil? Have a fiddle with the 2X2. Bored at work? Reach for the 2X2. The chances are you'll complete it in just a few minutes leaving you, if you're anything like us, feeling genuinely satisfied.

Visit www.rubiks.com

Spin Mania

Next up is something quite a bit more physical and one that can be enjoyed with more people than just your imaginary childhood friend Poo Poo Peter. Spin Mania is a new game from Drumond Park Games in which players must use speed and balance to move rotating frisbee-like disks from one place to another. Sounds easy. It is not.

Included in the box are the three aforementioned frisbees, a pointy wand type thing, three small poles on tripod bases and a chunky purple base used to get the frisbees going. When its your turn you stand ready with the wand while your opponents place the three poles around the room, in spots they think might be tricky for you to reach.

The battery-powered base spins the frisbees, one at a time, to quite a fast speed and its up to you to pick them up with the wand, while spinning, and deposit them onto the poles. You need to do this with all three frisbees and finish with all three still spinning. If one stops spinning and falls from either the wand or one of the poles, you lose. Loser. Check out the video.

Obviously this makes for quite a high speed and thrilling game and depending how far away your opponents place the poles, it can be rather tricky as well. We had several games during which the first disk had stopped spinning and fallen even before we'd nabbed the second. Then again, we are pretty terrible at physical games. And cooking, incidentally.

Spin Mania is a great game for funsters of all ages and we can imagine it going down a storm at both children's parties and stag nights.

Visit www.drumondpark.com

Khet 2.0

Finally we have something that we've been genuinely excited about since stumbling upon this promo video:

Yes, chess... with lasers! Need we go on? We will, if only to highlight just how awesome Khet 2.0 is.

Although it may market itself as a chess-like game and come complete with a Select Award from freaking MENSA (we applied to join the genius club once but... erm... doesn't matter) but Khet is far easier to learn and grasp the basics. To honest we opened the box and began a game immediately without looking over the rules; that's how simple it is!

In this ancient Egypt styled game, one must move mirrored pieces around the board to line up a direct line of sight for... A LASER! Once happy you have your opponent's piece in your sights, you simply press the head of your Sphinx and a laser will reflect around the board, bouncing from the many mirrors (including your opponent's).

The real skill is being able to think several moves ahead, like chess, to know where to put the pieces for the laser to have maximum effect. Fortunately each piece can move only one square or rotate 90°. The laser firing Sphinx must remain in the corner, either facing one way or the other at right angles. Simple rules, terrific game-play - just what we want in a table top game.

We're really excited about Khet 2.0 as we truly believe it has the makings of a modern classic. We can imagine expensive limited edition sets being released - even designers making their own pieces and boards. That's how much scope this game has. We urge you get a set right now, damn the weather even if the sun does shine and spend all summer playing Khet.

Available from www.amazon.co.uk
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