Review of Crayon Phyiscs Deluxe for the PC
When Crayon Physics won the grand prize at the 2008 Independent Games Festival the demo hit the Internet hard.
The full version promised to let players turn their scribbles into wonderfully ingenious little machines to capture a whole galaxy of stars across a myriad of stages. Almost a year after the demo debuted, Crayon Physics Deluxe is now availible for $19.95 but you might want to save your money.
It isn't that Crayon Physics Deluxe is too chalenging or has a steep learning curve, the game's biggest problem comes from the successes of the first demo.
Dillution. It's a problem with casual games, movies and premises for television programs. Once a product is successful everyone else races to copy it to try to get lightning to strike twice.
Crayon Physics spawned a load of imitators both good and bad, but they were free and they were availible. All of them still are out there somewhere, and the release of the full version is certain to spawn another wave.
So with many free alternatives availible on the Web, is Crayon Physics Deluxe worth $20?
The most obvious advantage is the scope of the game. With more than 70 levels to conquer it's far bigger than its imitators and will certainly make the better part of an afternoon vanish in the blink of an eye. Crayon Physics Deluxe also overs a greater variety of physics objects for players to solves puzzles with from ropes to rockets. It's easy to get wrapped up in finding out what you can do with some of these toys, so much so that you forget about the stars for a moment while you sent the rocket off on a wild trajectory.
However these objects only appear on a few levels and in the end you're still going to rely on blocks to get through most of the game. While there is some variety, the ability to simply brute force a lot of solutions makes most of those levels seem far too similar. With no penalty for failing and no limit to what you can build (except for the game's ability to keep track of objects) Crayon Physics Deluxe rewards creativity for its own sake.
While there may not be penalties for failing, there are also no rewards for coming up with the most elegant solution for a level. If you find something to be too much of a challenge you can simply push the ball to the star using brute force, which takes away a lot of fun from the game.
The music for the game is pleasant and easily turned off from the options menu (a problem for many of the free versions) and the visual style of the game is crude but playful.
The game also allows players to select a previously completed level rather than starting over from scratch, which is also a step up over free competitors, but the map can be frustrating to navigate.
While Crayon Physics Deluxe is a fun way to spend a few hours, the full version doesn't offer enough to explore for the money.
Casual gamers would be better suited going back to the Crayon Physics demo, which offers quick play and a better variety of challenges. Note: It's worth noting that a version of the game is availible for the iPhone, and with a touch interface this game could be worth another look.