The word ‘physics’ has taken on quite a new meaning these days, having been somewhat hijacked by games as a buzzword to promote realism. The problem is, even with its new gaming connotation science isn't a particularly fun activity.
Therefore, developer Gamez 4 Touch has taken the ‘rock star scientist’ approach that hip young teachers and lab technicians-turned-TV presenters often employ to get people interested in their scientific vocation - blow things up, and if something can't be exploded, drop heavy objects on it.
It might sound dumbed down, but there's no denying that this is the most successful method of making physics entertaining.
Touch Physics 2 doesn't build upon its predecessor so much as expand it with new levels. This isn't a criticism, however, since the crude building blocks of the original were a rare delight that made intelligent and specific use of the device's strongest features.
Your task remains the same: get the blue ball to the yellow star. You have no direct control over the ball itself, however. Instead, you're tasked with designing a contraption that knocks, lifts, catapults, and clouts the ball to its destination.
Drawing on the touchscreen creates either a geometric shape or a line that can be used as a bridge or a ramp. Dropping a large object onto the ball, for example, knocks it off rolling in a specific direction. With a bit of clever engineering, you’re able to construct all kinds of crude machinery designed to bring the ball and star together.
For example, you could drop a box onto the ball to roll it onto a makeshift see-saw, then catapult it across the screen by landing a weight on the other side.
Much of the entertainment comes from the mesmerising, realistic nature of the game's physics. The way in which the rudimentary, crayon-drawn scenery reacts to the objects you draw and drop around the place is quite compelling and the levels are numerous enough to keep a keen construction worker happy for hours.
The underlying problem with Touch Physics 2 has carried over from the first game, unfortunately. It takes some real thought to fathom the most efficient method of navigating the ball around the levels, but more often than not you can complete them quicker (and dirtier) through brute force.
Instead of building precise machinery, jamming box after box underneath the ball until it accidentally falls past the star is enough to complete many levels. Similarly, skewing a straight line through the immovable scenery often creates a penetrating shortcut that achieves the objective in a way that the game engine clearly didn’t intend.
These ham-fisted workarounds aren’t satisfying, leaving you feeling as though you found a way around the puzzle, rather than actually solving it.
Nevertheless, it's hard not to be delighted with the new backdrops and huge number of new levels. If you didn’t find the original game overly compelling, however, the sequel will be far too familiar to change your mind.