The crack-like addiction of Angry Birds isn’t really matched by Rovio’s latest time-waster, Amazing Alex, but the game’s worth a few wasted hours, here and there.
First off, it’s a game we’ve played a hundred times before. Cheekily, Rovio took iOS game Casey’s Contraptions and polished it up with a 2012 sheen. The aforementioned game has now been removed from the app store, to make way for Amazing Alex. If we dig back into the 90s, we’d find that Amazing Alex directly cribs The Incredible Machine series to a tee. Onto the review.
Like Cut the Rope, Amazing Alex takes place in a makeshift environment. This time, some kid’s filthy home. And like Cut the Rope, it’s a physics puzzler with different objectives for each stage. Happily, there’s multiple solutions for figuring out each puzzle. Pop a balloon with a tennis ball, launch a bowling ball into the sky, drop a book from a shelf, that sort of thing. The gamer’s worth is measured by how many stars they can get for each stage, with three stars being the hallmark of gaming perfection. But it’s too easy.
There’s very little challenge associated with each stage. Get the stars, complete the physics puzzle and move on to the next stage. Amazing Alex is supposed to be (should be) a fluid challenge, where completing the stage is only half the battle. How about letting us earn bonus points for finishing under the time limit, or for using less objects. Amazing Alex says “no” to this.
On the plus side, Amazing Alex is a beautiful game. Animations are smooth, sound is crisp, and controls are spot on. But it’s all so bland. Even the user level feature, which is unlocked at a later stage of the game is low on fun.
It’s a Rovio title though, so there’ll be a slew of updates and levels added at regular intervals. If Rovio takes the extra step and adds incentives and achievements, then we’ll have a true contender on our hands. As it stands, this is passable fun. Snap it up now for US$0.99 on the iTunes App store for iPad or iPhone and enjoy a good few hours of bland fun.
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