Crayon Physics Review
Crayon Physics Deluxe is probably more well know as a smartphone game for a wide range of handsets. It was originally released way back in January 2009 for the PC, and very little has changed between platforms. The aim of this rather cute game it to move a ball across the map collecting stars as you go. This deceptively simple goal is made more appealing with the use of a rather smooth and well polished physics engine that turns whatever is drawn by the mouse into a physical object within the game.
And considering that it has to deal with a cornucopia of childlike scribbles, it does really well to make the created elements act in a predictable and realistic manner. The game can also intelligently interpret the scribbles. Some circles are just treated like rocks and drop in a satisfying manner; however a small closed circle becomes a pin and can be used as either a pivot point or to suspend your other creations from.
You can go with the simple solutions
This allows the payer to create elaborate machines in order to achieve the goal, using levers and pulleys to make a device that Rube Goldberg would be proud of. In some of the later levels, powerful rocket motors are provided to pull or push objects across the map, adding yet more possibilities for you to consider. Despite the potential complexity provided by these elements, the difficulty curve is rather disappointingly flat. The first time I played the game I didn’t come across a level that didn’t take a few carelessly drawn platforms and ramps to complete. When I returned to the game a few days later (and making a distinct effort to use less obvious solutions) I found myself having much more fun despite the simple nature of the tasks; building vast and rambling mechanisms that only occasionally worked as hoped. This flexibility in the possible solutions is both the game’s greatest strength and most glaring weakness. If you just spent 10 minutes building a massively roundabout solution to the previous level, the temptation is to just take the path of least resistance and rush through the remaining levels and does make Crayon Physics feel rather stale and boring rather quickly, unless you force yourself to use a less obvious solutions. Having played less than half of the available levels, I can see the massive potential that the game has to offer but then again, there are only so many possible level types before it all become samey.
Or you can try and be a little more creative with your time.
Also included with the game is a very comprehensive level editor, allowing the creation of your own puzzles to confuse you and your friends. If none of them can do it, you can upload it to the Crayon Physics Playground and see how the faceless masses manage against your most fiendish creations (kind of). You can also download other peoples maps from there as well, breathing additional life into what could be a rather short lived game. After a quick skim though the available maps there are defiantly some intriguing and challenging maps which I couldn’t wait to try.
The music is perfect for the game; intrusive enough that you notice it but relaxed enough that you are not driven mad by the tunes. Which was a welcome relief as I spent far too long trying to make those over complex solutions to the problem without the music contributing to my slow descent into madness.
Crayon Physics Deluxe will never be the game that you turn to after a long and stressful day but it is perfect for filling that spare half hour.