GoCube Review is a sponsored post
Friends, I have a confession to make.
When I was younger, I used to let people think I was a GENIUS at solving Rubik’s Cubes. In fact (in news that will surprise no-one who knows me) I was not a genius. I used to just take the cube apart and put it back together in the right order. This is much sneakier than the easier hack of swapping the stickers around, which everyone can tell you’ve done because the cube pieces look different.
Truth be told, one of the reasons why I’ve never loved the Rubik’s cube is that it’s just so frustrating. You solve one side but mess up the other in the process. Or that thing where you get a whole side except for one freaking corner. Argh. I didn’t play with my Rubik’s cube very much after a few weeks of that.
However, it’s 2020 now and the world has given me a new chance to redeem myself with the GoCube smart Rubik’s cube. I was sent a cube to review, and so here’s how we got on:
First things first, this version of the Rubik’s cube can’t be taken apart to solve it. Believe me, I checked.
Second thing: the GoCube is described as a smart connected puzzle. What this means is you have a Rubik’s cube with a companion app, that helps kids to avoid the frustration/boredom cycle of the old school cube. Through the app you can play games that teach you how to solve the cube, and you can compete against other players and try to improve your times and scores.
Getting started with the GoCube is pretty easy. You just charge the cube using the included charging cable and download the companion app from your local friendly app store.
The cube is pretty cute looking, and it is pleasingly smooth and quiet to manipulate. I worried it might break dropping on the kitchen floor, but it seems quite robust.
Once you’re ready to start, the cube can connect to a nearby phone via Bluetooth. You’ll see an image of your cube appear on the phone, and as you turn the cube, the image on the screen updates. Hey presto!
STEM Learning with GoCube
It turns out that there is a LOT of maths involved in knowing that you can solve any Rubik’s cube in 22 or fewer moves (this is known as God’s number). There are actual papers published by MIT showing this.
Learning to solve a cube helps children develop things like spatial awareness and problem solving and encourages cognitive thinking, problem solving, and memory skills. These are all the sorts of things I don’t have, which is why I spent my childhood cheating and pretending I’d solved cubes when I had done no such thing.
Luckily your child doesn’t need to cheat OR understand God’s number to play with the GoCube. But by following the tutorials in the GoCube app, they will learn all the main methods of solving a cube, and gain insight into the underlying mathematical concepts.
In this way, the cube can help kids become more confident with some maths ideas and abstract thinking. Cube solving can also help to build memory, and an understanding of ideas like ratios and probability. You can travel along a path solving challenges that introduce kids to different ways of solving the cube (and therefore the underlying maths ideas).
And if that all gets too much and you get completely stuck, you can “scan” your cube using the GoCube app and it will walk you through the fastest way to solve your cube.
The GoCube is a nifty toy, but I don’t think it’s necessarily a stocking filler for younger kids – at an RRP of £79, this is quite expensive.
That said, it’s the sort of thing that will please kids who love logic puzzles or video games that use lateral thinking, and it’s a lot more social to play with family and friends who may be visiting over the Christmas period.
Flea found the idea of the GoCube interesting and was keen to learn how to solve the cube, enjoying it when I gave up and she was able to take over and demonstrate her superior intellect. We found it’s a really fun, well made device and the app is honestly just lovely. It’s very intuitive and attractive and the challenges are very engaging. The only issue we sometimes found was that I would get all reckless and move my cube too quickly and the app would lose track. If that happens you can ‘scan’ your cube and start fresh, which wasn’t too much of a problem.
You can buy directly from the GoCube website in US dollars, although don’t worry about the US site – if you’re in the UK, the product will still ship from a warehouse in this country. There are regular discounts available in the run-up to Christmas, so you could save $30 on the list price if you buy at the right time! The GoCube is also available from Amazon if you prefer to use that site.
Let me know if you try the GoCube, how you get on?