Review: Crazy Machines: Elements

You’ve got a basketball, a board, some levers, and a rope. You need to push over a few bowling pins on a nearby ledge. What do you do? If you enjoy deliberating on what you could actually build to help accomplish this task, then Crazy Machines: Elements is a game you might be interested in. Do you remember the Incredible Machine game series on PC? Crazy Machines is a spiritual successor to the popular titles, and after a few successful releases it’s finally come to the Xbox Live Arcade. In this wacky puzzler, there is no plot line or characters to muddle up the action. Just you, toy trucks, balloons, ramps, and other miscellaneous items.

If you’re familiar with the term “Rube Goldberg machine,” then you might have an idea of what Crazy Machines: Elements is trying to accomplish. They’re complex machines built to complete what might seem the easiest of tasks: think Pee-Wee Herman’s convoluted cooking processes. All of that to make breakfast. Most of the objects are simple household items or things you might find lying around a child’s room, in this case. And with each subsequent level it’s up to you to solve a different puzzle laid out for you.

You’re given a task to complete such as get object X from point A to point B using specific tools and supplies. As the game has adopted a clever PC-like control scheme with allowing you an inventory of items to click and drag into place, it’s incredibly simple to place and rotate the pieces of the puzzle required to solve each quandary without much issue.

As some situations may initially seem a little difficult to ascertain a solution, you’re only provided with items pertinent to solving each puzzle. I appreciated the nudge in the right direction, but after the first few primary tasks I completed, I felt as though the game may not be aimed at my age group. Luckily, I was greeted by several more complex setups that required much more time to solve than the initial five minutes I put into the training puzzles.

With 100 puzzles, an editing mode to create your own wacky machines, and a challenge mode to play around with, your brain should get a great workout with Crazy Machines: Elements. Replay value is astronomically high for the investment – build your own contraptions and seek out the golden gears hidden throughout previously completed sections. There’s tons to do and an intuitive playground in which to do it. At first glance you may just write this top-tier puzzler off as just another casual endeavor, but if you’re looking for some unorthodox fun this might just be right up your creative alley.

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