Reviewed: November 14, 2005
Released: September 30, 2005
Crazy Machines is a logic puzzle-solving game that can be quite fun. You are given goals and you must accomplish the goals using the parts and mechanical pieces of things to solve the particular puzzle.
This puzzle solving game from Viva media is very similar to another series of games called Contraptions. Viva Media has a wide variety of children's educational and many chess related games along with a few music software titles.
In Crazy Machines during Experimental play you start with very simple tasks like getting a ball into a basket using boards arranged correctly to show how the game works. Then you graduate on to tougher assignments that require more thought and trial. Some experiments have one goal like freeing balloons to float to the ceiling and others will have multiple goals. There are 205 experiments in this part of the game in two Experiment sections.
There are objects already on the wall that is the lab for the experiments. At the beginning of the experiment you place other objects or machines and hook up things like electrical cords, gears and steam pipes to accomplish the goal. You then start the experiment to see if you have accomplished the goal or if you need to work further to alter the experiment towards the goal.
When the goal is accomplished a screen pops up telling that you’ve met the goal and gives you the option to watch the experiment again or view their solution. You then go on to the next experiment with the lab professor narrating for you. The goals are sometimes tricky to accomplish but sometimes they give you more objects than needed to accomplish them. Thus trying to confuse you with things either already on the wall or in your toolbox that you don't need.
There is also a Lab where you can design your own experiments. There are over 70 pieces of equipment and tools you can use from balls, boards and ropes to more complicated things like generators, fans and boilers. You can then save the experiments and have others try to solve them.
The game is very well set up and works great. The physics that are an integral part of the game engine works, as you would expect it to and accounts for any variables like wind from a fan and explosive backlash. The game runs well without any glitches or problems.
The graphics in Crazy Machines are very well done. When you place objects that are not static like ropes and electric cords they wiggle and move like they are real. The trial of your experiments works extremely well and looks great. Shadows and effects like explosions and fireworks look good and the control panel allows you to alter the different settings like color depth, filtering and shadow detail.
The one thing I wish they had done was used a longer pause before the screen that says your experiment was a success pops up. I would like to have gloated a bit longer and see how well I designed that experiment when it did work.
The sounds are really good, with things like pool balls smacking and the beach balls bouncing using what sounds like real recorded effects instead of synthesized noises. Crazy Machines has the usual background music that is very appropriate to this game but nothing spectacular.
There are volume adjustments for both the music and effects but there is also a variety of background music you can play. You can also let the professor tell you about the experiments and help you out with tips along the way or turn him off.
The value of Crazy Machines is where this game would fall short. There are 205 experiments in the two labs for you to solve. It took me about eight hours of play to solve all the puzzles of the experiments. They have a gravity machine that can alter the amount of gravity as if you were on the moon or in space to further complicate some experiments.
After you finish the experiments there would be little to no challenge to redo them as the goals would not change. But you could try to find different ways to accomplish some of the experiments from the menu that shows all the experiments that you had accomplished.
Crazy Machines is a very well made game if you like to solve logic puzzles. The physics works well and the graphics are really nice. It is fun but making my own puzzles for others to solve wouldn't hold my interest for long. If you enjoy logic puzzles Crazy Machines is a fun game and worth a look.