Invented in 1974, the Rubik’s Cube has been a staple childhood toy ever since the peak of its popularity in the 1980s. Now, the Rubik’s Spark is set to update the classic puzzle for a 21st century audience.
Like the original toy, the Rubik’s Spark is a cube that features nine individual squares on each of its six faces. The twist is that rather than rotating around a pivot, these squares light up individually, according to a report from Pocket Lint.
Players don’t actually rotate squares as they would on a traditional Rubik’s Cube. Instead, the Spark uses “bubble control” — sensors inside the device allow it to detect which way it’s oriented, so players can influence which square is illuminated at any given time by turning it over in their hands.
This novel gameplay mechanic is the foundation of several different game modes preinstalled on the Spark, none of which imitate the color-matching fun of the original Rubik’s Cube.
One mode sees players tasked with following a path that’s demonstrated for them. Another challenges them to light up certain squares by navigating around the face of the device, while being held to a stringent time limit.
The Rubik’s Spark features six game modes, and a bonus activity called Rubik’s DJ, where players can rotate the device to mix several looping instrumentals. There’s support for both single-player fun and multiplayer competition.
While it remains to be seen whether the Rubik’s Spark can become as ingrained in pop culture as the original Rubik’s Cube, it’s definitely a creative use of new technology to put a different spin on a kids’ classic. The Spark is set to retail for around $30, and is already available for purchase in some regions.