App

Dimensional playground teaches you some neat things about perception

Price: $5.99 / £5.99
Version: 1.00
Size: 165 MB
Platform: iPhone & iPad
Developer: mtb design works

Download Hardbound on the App Store

Okay, this app is going to take some introduction. Borne out of a long-in-development 4D puzzle game, Mirgakure, 4D Toys explores the difficult concept of this forthcoming game (if you want to see a video of what that might look like, watch here.) But you don’t need to know anything about that game to enjoy this somewhat quirky app, because it’s all about the perplexing idea behind it. You see, as many of you already know, we live in a 3D world and as such, we can’t actually perceive a 4D world.

The app makes you use the iPhone’s accelerometer as well as more traditional finger taps

That means players will have to figure out these 4D puzzles, while not actually being able to perceive them in the real world. It’s a remarkable idea really, and perhaps due to an arduously long development, the developers behind the aforementioned puzzle game are instead taking a break, and providing iOS users with a little 4D playground (well, technically it still has to be 3D,) where the concepts of 4D can be explored, free and easy.

The app makes a decent stab at explaining the intricacies of the 4D world

Still confused? Okay, forget the background. 4D Toys’ most informative aspect is its visual and word-based exploration of dimensions – from 2D to 4D. It explains the flat nature of for the former, and the unseeable (by us mere humans) nature of the latter. But even this isn’t easily accessible. From the app’s first open, it appears designed to bamboozle. You start with a series of comic-book like panels, which you’re expected to swipe for. You’re then introduced to a grey play area with some uber-colorful shapes. It keeps it simple, and you simply have to drop these shapes into a black-shaded area. Again, there were few instructions here.

There’s also a range of playgrounds alongside the explanation section. Play with them at your will

Once you’ve gone through a handful of little exercises, which take you through the 2D, to 3D, to 4D space, you can actually move on to the explanation of these (does that seem the correct way round?) This is where the app is at its strongest, when it actually explains itself. We’re not convinced on whether it’s quite managed a plain-English approach, but we just about got our heads round the magic of the 4D space. After this, you’re kinda just left to it. There are a number of ‘spaces,’ or ‘levels,’ we suppose, if you’re thinking in game terms, and each provide a range of shapes, objects, and spaces which you can tap on and then interact in weird dimensions.

Here’s one of the playgrounds. It can get quite chaotic

Overall, we’d question the price tag on this. There’s not a huge amount to it, and even a passing fascination can quickly become tedious. Why the developer decided to release this is uncertain. It’s almost equal parts fascinating, and equal parts boring. If you’re in the mood for some geekery, it’s great. But if you want an afternoon’s entertainment, you might be best placed playing an actual puzzle game. But that’s the point, we suppose. Is this an app? Or a game? If we’re to expect games to be fun… well, let’s just call this game an app.

Review: 4D Toys - dimensional playground shows the fun in the unseen
An interesting, informative app with a questionable price tag
For
  • An interesting insight into 4D
  • Open sandbox for experiments
Against
  • Lack of initial explanations
  • A bit pricy for what it provides
3.5Overall Score