By Matthew Claudel
on 3.3.11

As a cheeky middle schooler, my father challenged his math teacher with the then newly introduced Rubik’s Cube. They struck a deal – until he returned a solved cube, he couldn’t assign homework. One beautiful week passed before the kids were back to multiplication tables; whereas today, the standing record is 6.77 seconds. If the 1974 classic is just too easy or boring (or not design-y enough) for you, GP has dug up some modern versions that are guaranteed not only to stump you, but to hold their own as aesthetic objects themselves. We know Rubik’s Cubes are generally on par with pocket protectors and suspenders on a scale from Nifty to Nerdy, but these guys are something we’d display on a coffee table. Because, when it comes down to it, we’re into mental fitness here at Gear Patrol.

The V Cube 7

Billed as the “largest, smoothest and most complex rotational puzzle game in the world,” the V Cube 7 is composed of 218 pieces that rotate independently on based axes. This allows for a staggering number (1.95 with 160 zero’s after it) of possible permutations: a serious undertaking for even the most experienced Rubik’s-solver… or a Mensa/Rhodes scholar with four hands.

Buy Now: $30

The Mirror Cube

The Mirror Cube satisfies both your Moma-mongering aesthetic side and your intellectual/physical vanity. Despite looking futuristic to a Jetsons degree, the Mirror Cube functions just like a traditional Rubik’s cube with an irregular sized grid. The varying square sizes begin to project and retract when the puzzle is scrambled, and the whole composition quickly becomes complicated. The goal is to restore its original cubic form (rather than arranging colors).

Buy Now: $18

The Rubik’s Touch Cube

The Rubik’s Touch Cube is a mundane puzzle dressed up for a blacklight rave. With techno aesthetics and electronic functionality, the Touch Cube is a truly modern take on the classic. The Touch Cube can also function like a learning device – if you’re stuck, the cube can show hints or solve itself in a step-by-step tutorial. When left on its charging stand, the puzzle continually scrambles and solves itself, becoming an (intellectual?) modern light display.

Buy Now:$50

The QJ Super Square One Puzzle Cube

For those who simply need more complexity (rather than a coffee table sculpture), the QJ Super Square One Puzzle Cube introduces new shapes to the standard Rubik’s Cube. Each 3×4 face has two different panel sizes, and the top and bottom faces have a circular center surrounded by 3 rows of angled shapes. If you think the syntax of that sentence was confusing, try solving the QJ Super Square One.

Buy Now: $15