Game Reviews

The Incredible Machine

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The Incredible Machine

Feeding mice to alligators; knocking cats on the head with bowling balls; flinging baseballs at children using a series of pulley, chutes, and dynamite - yes, The Incredible Machine is back.

For this iPad reworking of one of physics puzzler pioneers on the PC, not much has changed from the original concept.

It’s not incredible, as the title may have you believe, but it still delivers a decent selection of puzzles for you to chew over.

Push the button

The idea in each of the 64 initial levels (with a further 45 available via in-app purchase) is to achieve some kind of strange goal.

This can range from something faintly approaching normal, like, say, getting a basketball through a hoop, to something mightily silly (usually featuring monkeys on conveyor belts).

In each stage you're handed a set of tools, contraptions, or creatures along the bottom to drag and place around the single-screen level and facilitate the desired outcome.

Tapping the Play button sets the physics (and animals) in motion, allowing you to see where the problems lie, and hopefully correcting them for the next run-through.

Extended warranty

The Incredible Machine starts off exceptionally easy, with the game handing out chalk outlines for pieces in case you can’t work out what should be placed in the gap between pipes (hint: another pipe), but it does let its hair down 15 or so levels in.

It’s a good job the physics are so consistent for when things do get a little tougher. Should you not move a piece between runs, there’s no chance that the proceeding chain of events will play out differently from before.

This reliability means that all your attention can be focused on moving the strange pieces into their correct positions, and trying to claim the full three stars for each level.

Not a fresh installation

Despite the ‘three-star system’ seemingly being designed for physics games like Cut the Rope, the same can’t be said here.

The levels just aren’t designed for there to be more than one solution to a problem, which leads to you having to - quite literally - place objects a smidgen higher than they should be, so that they drop onto a star when the level begins. It’s not exactly elegant.

Other desirable modern concessions are also conspicuous by their absence.

For example, it’s disappointing that there’s no way to skip the horrifyingly difficult levels when they all too suddenly appear, nor are the visuals particularly inspiring judged against contemporaries like (the superior) Casey’s Contraptions.

Lacking modern niceties or charming graphics won’t bother traditional puzzle fans too much, but it does result in a game that ends up being more methodical than incredible.

The Incredible Machine

The Incredible Machine won’t impress in the same fashion as when it was first released, but it still offers a decent collection of surreal physics puzzles
Will Wilson
Will Wilson
Will's obsession with gaming started off with sketching Laser Squad levels on pads of paper, but recently grew into violently shouting "Tango Down!" at random strangers on the street. He now directs that positive energy into his writing (due in no small part to a binding court order).