Upcoming Minimalist Puzzler ‘Bloki’ Will Twist Your Brain into Knots in Mid-May

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An interesting new trailer crossed our news desk today, and the more I watch it the more it makes my brain hurt. But in a good way. It’s for an upcoming puzzler called Bloki from developer Junkhive, and I think they do a pretty good job of succinctly describing it here: “Bloki is a minimal, clean and mind-bending game with a simple goal each level – twist, turn, and build the structure to place the blocks on the points that match their color. With additional elements, like color switching tiles or obstacles, the game gets more and more interesting as it progresses. It also helps you train your spatial intelligence, as well as visualising and manipulating three dimensional space in your head.” Here’s the trailer.

Using the touchscreen, you’ll be able to rotate and position the group of blocks to your liking, as well as add on blocks as needed. The goal is to get the floating colored points aligned with the same colored blocks of the little structure you’re building. But that’s not all! “Some levels have tiles that change the colors of the blocks, some have points which must remain empty, and others have obstacles which restrict your movement.” It all sounds like some masochistic twist on the Rubik’s Cube, which is music to my ears. If you enjoy these types of challenging puzzlers that force you to think in three dimensional space, then look for Bloki to launch on iOS in mid-May for just 99¢.


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A Case of Distrust is a minimalist noir story

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It can be difficult to find time to finish a video game, especially if you only have a few hours a week to play. In our biweekly column Short Play we suggest video games that can be started and finished in a weekend.

It doesn’t take much to evoke the sense of a place. The right sound or the right look can be transportive, putting you in a location you’ve maybe never even been before, yet still intuitively understand. A Case of Distrust does this not by calling on cultural touchstones from its time period, but works by evoking a nostalgic style from the ‘50s that was used to invoke the ‘20s.

A Case of Distrust takes place in San Francisco in 1925, and puts you in the shoes of newly minted private detective, former SFPD officer Phyllis…

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Incredibly Mobile “Minimalist Robot” Could Be the Future of Non-Invasive Medicine

Restless Robot

A new, tiny, “minimalist robot” can achieve a complex series of movements that should one day allow it to patrol the human body from the inside, according to researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, Germany, who describe their work in a Nature paper.

Not only does the caterpillar-inspired robot walk, but it also crawls, jumps, and even swims — moving seamlessly from a wet environment to a dry one as it climbs out of a pool.

The researchers who created the plyable millirobot, which is about the same size as a grain of rice, were inspired by soft-bodied beetle larvae and caterpillars. Jellyfishes also lent some of their features to the little creature.

But how does this elastic robot achieve such a variety of movements if it doesn’t have any sort of limbs? The German researchers used external magnetic fields to put pressure on magnetic particles within its body, changing its shape. It’s this deformation, the engineers say, that allows the robot to jump over obstacles, crawl through tunnels, and more.

Non-Invasive Medicine

Such abilities will be put to the test once the minimalist robot is ready to move inside the human body and deliver drugs to targets that are otherwise difficult to reach without surgery. In order to do that, the tiny bot is also able to pick an object up, move it, and release it.

Pill Robots: The Future of Non-Invasive Surgery [INFOGRAPHIC]
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“In the future, our robot can carry drugs and deliver them to a desired location where they are most needed, much like a doorstep delivery,” author and Physical Intelligence Department director Metin Sitti said in a press release. “We would use it for minimally invasive medical applications inside the human body: it would be delivered through swallowing or a cavity on the skin and make its way through the digestive or urinary tract, abdominal cavity, or heart surface.”

To date, the robotic caterpillar has been only tested in an artificial stomach model and chicken tissue. But one day, the researchers hope, it could become a standard tool in healthcare.

The post Incredibly Mobile “Minimalist Robot” Could Be the Future of Non-Invasive Medicine appeared first on Futurism.


Minimalist Skiing Game ‘Just Ski’ Gets Great New Tutorial, (Slightly) Easier Difficulty, and iPhone X Support

Indie developer Jeff Weber brought a great take on skiing to the App Store earlier this year with Just Ski [$ 0.99]. The game was built off of similar mechanics to his previous release Krashlander, which used some pretty realistic physics and skiing techniques to have you solving puzzle-like levels. Just Ski’s aim was to take those techniques and apply them to a much longer side-scrolling level where you can focus more on, well, just skiing. The game took a cue from Desert Golfing in having the landscape colors slightly change as you made it further through the game and progressed towards making it to the cabin at the end of the level. Just Ski achieved what it set out to do, but its mechanics were pretty tough for players to grasp. With that in mind Weber has released a new version of Just Ski today that features a much more helpful tutorial which you can see below.

Funnily enough, this is not the first time the developer has tried to help out players by making a tutorial for Just Ski, as he released a similar tutorial just a couple of weeks after the game’s release in May. This new built-in tutorial is much more helpful in my opinion, but dang it all if this game still isn’t tricky to figure out even with an improved tutorial. It’s worth sticking with though, as once things click it’s immensely satisfying to pull off huge jumps and flips. In addition to the new tutorial, this update makes adjustments so that landings are slightly more forgiving, and even adds in support for the full screen of the iPhone X. To top it all off Just Ski is currently on sale for just a buck, so if any of this seems interesting to you and you’re willing to put in some time to learn a game’s mechanics in exchange for a very rewarding experience, I’d suggest checking this one out.


Minimalist Button-Pushing Puzzler ‘PUSH’ Releasing October 18th

Back in August we checked out the trailer for the very interesting upcoming puzzler called simply PUSH. A collaborative project between Klocki [$ 0.99] and Hook [$ 0.99] developer Maciej Targoni and Zenge [$ 0.99] and Art of Gravity [$ 0.99] developer Michal Pawlowski, PUSH has you, well, pushing buttons and performing various other actions in order to solve each of the game’s puzzle boxes. You can see this in action in the newly released trailer for PUSH below.

I love the clean aesthetics and moody soundtrack in PUSH, but I’m much more interested in solving some of these fiendish looking puzzles. It almost feels like a futuristic, minimalistic take on The Room mixed in with some more general room escape puzzling. If you also think PUSH is looking really good, you’ll be pleased to know that the developers have announced a release date of October 18th for the game, less than two weeks away. I’m looking forward to that day very much so I can start pushing all those buttons. What is it about buttons that make them so darn tantalizing? Until its release, you can check out more about PUSH in the game’s forum thread here.


POP!_OS is a developer-focused minimalist Linux distro from System 76

There aren’t that many Linux hardware manufacturers around. Of the few that exist, System 76 is amongst the most well-known. It offers a slew of laptops and desktops, all shipping with the popular Ubuntu distro pre-installed, saving customers hours of wasted time dealing with driver hell. But it recently announced it’s changing gears and creating its own Linux distro, which will replace Ubuntu on its systems, called POP!_OS. Unlike other Linux distributions, which are increasingly geared towards mainstream users, POP!_OS unashamedly targets power users – like programmers, scientists, roboticists, and makers. System 76’s Sriram Ramkrishna explained that the goal of…

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One of the world’s most influential math texts is getting a beautiful, minimalist edition

A couple of years ago, a small publisher called Kroncker Wallis issued a handsome, minimalist take on Isaac Newton’s Principia. Now, the publisher is embarking on its next project: Euclid’s Elements.

The publisher is using Kickstarter to fund this new edition. Euclid’s Elements is a mathematical text written by Greek mathematician Euclid around 300 BCE and has been called one of the most influential textbooks ever produced. The treatise contains 13 separate books, covering everything from plane geometry, the Pythagorean theorem, golden ratio, prime numbers, and quite a bit more. The books helped to influence scientists such as Nicolaus Copernicus, Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei, and Sir Isaac Newton. In 1847, an English mathematician…

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Google News shows off its minimalist new look

Google today rolled out a brand new look for News. The redesign is modern, clutter-free, and puts the emphasis on what’s important when browsing dozens of news stories. According to Google: “To make news more accessible and easier to navigate, we redesigned the desktop website with a renewed focus on facts, diverse perspectives, and more control for users.” Scrolling through the news feed, you’ll find easily scannable content. Google’s Story card format allows users to quickly pinpoint key bits of information like news source, headline, and publish time. The Story cards also allow users to look at the different perspectives…

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Minimalist Puzzle Games ‘Cubiques’ Coming June 22nd

If you enjoy minimalist puzzle games on your phone, you’ll probably enjoy Cubiques, an upcoming puzzle game that has you playing a little red cube that has to visit all the tiles in each of the levels. While it starts out with pretty simply levels, more tile types are introduced in later levels, which change the mechanics and raise the challenge level. The game has 60 levels, so plenty of challenge for those who enjoy these kinds of games.

The art style goes for a Monument Valley kind of aesthetic, although it doesn’t capture the charm of ustwo’s megahit. Cubiques does use Apple’s Metal, so it should play pretty smoothly on later devices. The game is coming out June 22nd, and you can visit our forums to talk to the developers if you so wish.