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Crazy Machines 2 Complete (PC) artwork

Crazy Machines 2 Complete (PC) review

"Itís an interest thing, really. If the idea of gizmos and pulleys and gears has you grinning like a loon, or even if you want to tread a puzzle path not often explored, then this is a great package to pick up."

Hereís something you probably didnít know about me, aside from my skill to turn any topic around to a discussion about myself; I spend roughly four weeks a year building, from scrap, all manner of crazy half-working machines welded together from binned iron and rusted car parts to test to destruction against a host of other people with nothing better to do. I drown in axel grease, ball bearings and stuttering moped engines because, deep in the back of my heart, I want to be the guy who devises crazed contraptions like the eccentric inventor from Wallace & Gromit or Christopher Lloydís portrayal of Dr Emmett L. Brown in Back to the Future.

Crazy Machines 2: Complete gives me the appreciated chance to make insane chains of pointless gizmos without the very real threat of chiselling the tip of my thumb off. If youíve ever spent more time making a pointlessly complex machine out of Meccano that can do little more than stir a cup of tea, or if you even know what Meccano is, then this is probably a game you might want to look at.

You are given puzzles to solve. They are not what youíre thinking.

Anyone whoís played Mousetrap will remember how you had to try and trap a sneaky plastic rodent by constructing a simple drop cage by hugely over-elaborate means. Take that idea, lose any sense of structure, slap it on a virtual canvas and factor in over 200 tools from assorted cogs, gears and pulleys, small cannons, balloons and fireworks. There are cranks, pegs, levers, gears and chains, and they exist to perform a mundane action -- such as dropping a ball into a basket or smashing a vase. Itís not the first time a game has struck out to give you, the puzzle-happy public, this kind of experience, but it does do something to set itself apart. Crazy Machines has its own physics engine, and it intends to make damn sure you know about it.

To this effect, youíll have items plummeting as gravity takes hold or watch crash test dummies get flung and dropped for kicks and giggles. Bouncy things will bounce, spinning things will spin and the solutions to your mundane tasks gain a whole new level of inventiveness. Factor this in with the ability to harness electricity, lightning and lasers, and each stage can be completed in several different ways. Even more if you heartlessly abuse the struggling physics engine for your own needs! Should you get stuck, then the game will drop hints on how it solved the puzzle itself, but its solutions are always the most outlandish and bizarre, combining parts and ideas that you might not put together yourself and that really shouldnít work but sometimes do. Iím not sure whether to condemn their antics or applaud them for expecting the player to be as off-the-walls insane with their answers as they possibly can. No, thatís a lie; I think itís great to complete a stage then see how it could have been done if you walked that very thin line between genius and insane. Someone just looking for a bit of common sense to guide them in a moment of insecurity, however, certainly wonít share my enthusiasm.

And then itís on to the next puzzle in a sea of conundrums and head scratchers. Itís not perfect; the interface is clumsy, the backgrounds busy enough for you to lose plain sight of your complex working parts, and the end is never as gloriously manic as the means. The tool tip gives you hints on what parts actually do, but theyíre vague, often poorly written and not applicable for the carcass of parts that are already on the screen to begin with. Your invention can become so cluttered, so stuffed with working parts, that the entire thing becomes a blur of motion, making the smaller parts hard to distinguish.

But thereĎs always redemption to be had. Complete comes with the vast majority of downloadable add-on puzzles the initial showing of Crazy Machines 2 offered and if even this mountain of stages isnít enough, then you can create your own. Thereís a strong sense of replayability for those determined to collect a glittering collection of top tier medals. And I can let my mechanics-obsessed alter ego run wild without having to worry about singed off eyebrows or lead poisoning.

If youíve ever watched the first Back to the FutureĎs opening scene detailing the most overly-elaborate way to power an alarm clock ever and fell in love with the idea, then this is probably your best chance to replicate it without treading copious amounts of oil into your carpet.

EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (July 01, 2009)

Gary Hartley arbitrarily arrives, leaves a review for a game no one has heard of, then retreats to his 17th century castle in rural England to feed whatever lives in the moat and complain about you.

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