In all but name, Crazy Machines 2 is the successor to ’90s classic franchise The Incredible Machine. You’re set a task – usually sending an object to a specific place – and must utilize a series of seemingly random items to do it. This is a delightfully simple and devilishly addictive premise that CM2 has fleshed out into a fiendish, frustrating, and wonderful series of 180 different logic-bending puzzles.
New to this series is a slick graphics engine and appropriately-balanced physics, using Ageia’s PhysX engine. Balls bounce realistically down slopes, objects are catapulted and walls crash down as you’d expect them to. This is the kind of off-the-wall crap scientists get up to with their grant money. You start a level with an empty experiment, with elements (ropes and balls, for example) and a selection of anchor points. At this point, the action is paused, but you can start it at any time to see the effect of placing the objects into the experiment field.
At first, this is merely adding things to the experiment and executing the simple objectives. However, within the space of one chapter, it becomes a hulking logic bender that will have even the most introverted genius scratching dandruff into their brain. None of the answers are particularly illogical, but some of them require you to zoom into the playing field and really see the ins and outs of the scientific affair. The annoying part is that the game lacks a fast-forward button, as you’ll find yourself waiting for time-sensitive items to tick over during test runs, only to have your plans foiled, forcing a finger-drumming repeat.
This isn’t as bad as it seems, though, as you’ll never feel like an answer was unavailable due to any reason other than your own short-sightedness. And when the solution does eventually dawn on you, you’ll feel that sense of achievement that few games provide. With an editor and the ability to download other players’ creations from the game’s website, along with the hours of built-in content, Crazy Machines 2 is definitely worth your cash. Go out – or even stay in – and buy it.
Jul 28, 2008