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Games

‘Ernő & Rubï’ Experiments with Rubik’s Cube–Like Storytelling

All solutions are correct in Mike Mezhenin’s Ludum Dare 37 game.

by Nicole Carpenter
Jan 4 2017, 7:52pm

They were always late: Ernő and Rubï rushed for the train and ran after buses, perpetually late for flights.

Ernő pulled Rubï through the foyer, the pair stumbling from their apartment building and into the cold, wet New York City streets. "An umbrella, Ernő," Rubï pleaded, feeling the rain touch her skin. "No time," Ernő said. Rubï grimaced. Two buses past their intended departure time, today was no different: They were always late.

This is the story of Mike Mezhenin's Ernő & Rubï—or is it? Created for game jam Ludum Dare 37, Ernő & Rubï is an experimental puzzle game built upon interpretation. Mezhenin is not explicit in unraveling the story of Ernő & Rubï's relationship. Twelve tabs line the perimeter of the game—which you can play in your browser—and change the scene in Ernő & Rubï's "one room." (One room is Ludum Dare 37's theme.)

Header and screenshot courtesy of Mike Mezhenin

Ernő & Rubï operates like a Rubik's Cube in that way, mixing and matching pieces to find the correct setup, though in Ernő & Rubï, what's correct is up to the player. The Rubik's Cube–like influence appears in the game's name and coloring, too—Ernő Rubik is the Hungarian inventor who created the Rubik's Cube, while the game's palette takes inspiration from the cube puzzle itself.

Set to ambient music by Dusk Horizon, Ernő & Rubï move from bus stop to coffee shop, rain pouring or sun shining. The next tab slides in a table and chairs, with another gives Ernő a Rubik's Cube and Rubï a wrapped present. Scenes align with the game's papercraft style regardless of which tab is selected as if Ernő & Rubï were a physical interactive storybook.

Ernő & Rubï is free to play on itch.io. Go get lost in imaginative storytelling.