Crazy Machines: Elements
Developer: FAKT Software
Publisher: DTP Entertainment
Platforms: XBLA (reviewed), PSN, PC
Release Date: August 24, 2011
Price: 800 MSP – (Available Here)
A tennis ball rolls down a tube hitting a lever. Suddenly, the lever flings the tennis ball at a nitrous flask. As the flask falls off the ledge, a box of fireworks rests below. BLAST OFF!! This type of phenomenon can only be reached in the labs of Crazy Machines: Elements. Whether you are using electricity to start a fire or a steam machine to power a treadmill, the game takes machine creation to another level. Time for the nuts and bolts break down!
Each level displays a main objective for the player to achieve. Once the objective is completed, the level will be finished. Then the player may choose to retry, go on to the next, or exit the level. An objective could be anywhere from dropping a ball through a hoop to breaking a jar.
The inventory is the mad professor’s arsenal of tools for each round. Through the main levels the inventory is automatically set. By having limited amount of tools, the difficulty is basically a guessing game to match the developer’s line of thought. Starting off the levels are very simple and easy to figure out – i.e., put plank under basketball tilted towards the hoop. However, levels become increasingly complex and take several hours to complete.
The complexity of the each level is also determined by the number of gears to collect. A set number of gears are placed throughout a stage and must be touched to attain a perfect machine. A player may continue on to the next stage even if all of the gears are not collected. All gears must be collected at the time of objective completion. Even if your machine plays past the completion, any gears attained after will not be calculated. I became enraged after finding this little tidbit out. RAWR!!!! Make yourself accustomed to delaying objects.
My personal favorite aspect of the game is to design your own machine. Integrating this custom option lets the player take the reins. A challenge option also becomes available to players. Other players may pose a greater challenge than the developers at FAKT software. Machines can be uploaded online to prove who is the craziest scientist of them all with leaderboards as proof.
Graphics are usually the main cause of misguidance. Inventory items like gears can only be placed on a solid backdrop such as metal or wood. Tools cannot overlap each other, and boundaries are more than likely a factor in item placement. Items like the punching bag need to be correctly positioned on a surface in order to be locked in place.
The in-game items mesh well with each other and deliver a solid animation performance. When a small toy truck is making its way to a nitrous flask, you know for sure that something is going to blow.
On smaller resolutions the text boxes are very small and hard to read. The objectives are crucial to understand the purpose of each level, and a hardly legible text is an unnecessary flaw. After several seconds the text disappears but can be accessed from a hint tool. Having larger text would make gameplay easier on any resolution.
Level music is not annoying which is a definite plus. The scores are tasteful and somewhat relaxing. Depending on the player’s ability, the levels may not last longer than a few minutes but on the off chance the music may become repetitive.
Audio effects are probably the most detailed in the game. While not every action is given its own *ding* or *swoosh*, Crazy Machines: Elements has quality sound effects that tickle your eardrums. A lightning zap here and a cracking jar there is a necessity to the game’s fruition. Without these effects, the audience would not grasp the entire picture. Fireworks without booms and pops are just pretty colors.
Crazy Machines: Elements delivers a solid backbone of levels for play. By providing a limited inventory basis, the FAKT software minimized available solutions for each stage. While this aspect can be seen as a negative, the player is challenged with collecting all of the gears with limited tools.
But creating a custom machine is exactly the freedom a mad geek needs. Creating a machine and having others try to master your creation can only extend the game’s life. The challenge mode will certainly entertain those who have completed the original levels and give players a chance to rank higher on the leaderboards.
What would Crazy Machines: Elements be without sound? Boring. Explosions, zaps, and crashes make more amusement as well as common sense. With a mellow background music and neat sound effects, this nutty game makes for quite a ride.
Crazy Machines: Elements electrocutes