PC/Mac/Linux
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System Requirements
CPU: 2GHz
Operating system: Windows XP/Vista
Memory: 512 MB RAM
Drives: 500 MB free hard disc, CD-ROM drive
Graphics: DirectX 9 compatible graphic card with 512 MB RAM
Sound: DirectX 9 compatible sound card

Crazy Machines 2 is a game where your goal is to make crazy contraptions in order to complete various objectives. It can be classified as a puzzle game, but there’s a lot of strategy to it. Each available piece is called an element and you have many different kinds at your disposal. You can play through the World Tour or just build stuff in your own lab. The World Tour consists of fifteen chapters with ten levels each. There are an additional twenty puzzles if you are the proud owner of an Ageia PhysX card. (Nvidia PhysX enabled drivers are not good enough as of this writing.)

How do I play?


Each puzzle has an objective to complete such as having objects fall or end up at a certain place, or to cook a sausage, or many others. Many puzzles have secondary goals that can give you more points if you complete them. There’s an element bar, which allows you to use a limited number of pieces to drag and rotate into place. Then you flip the switch to let gravity do its thing and see how your idea turned out. Time bonuses are awarded if you complete a puzzle quickly. Points will also be awarded to you if you don’t use all of the elements given.

So what do I get to work with?

There are some plain objects like wooden boards, dominos, pipes, rope, balls, crates, pulleys, buckets, gears, and more. Then there are some fun objects that involve fire like cannons, candles, rockets, dynamite, and more flammable objects. You can also use other forms of energy like electricity, steam, and wind. There are over one hundred gadgets to tinker with.

Graphics

The graphics are all 3D rendered and are an improvement from the previous versions (1 and 1.5). The better graphics have a cost though, as the video card requirement is a 512MB card and I read some reviews on Amazon where many people could not play this game. I have experienced no problems, but I do have an 8800GT 512MB SLI setup, so I can only say it runs fine on my high end system. I have no doubt that the physics beef up the video card requirements. As you can imagine, the physics engine is pretty good. Even the slightest movement of an object will affect the outcome. The objects are nicely detailed and the chapters each have a theme which offers a new background and objects of that culture to play with. Sometimes you’ll even see rain while you’re playing. The ability to zoom in is essential and nice but the camera angling is rigid; I wish they would have allowed for the player to control the camera more.

Sound

The sound is pretty good in this game. Each object has its own sound effect. The voice acting of the Albert Einstein like scientist is fitting. The background music was pleasant but nothing too special.

Online

There is no multiplayer in this game; however there are many online goodies. When I signed in online, I saw twenty official labs to download and many user submitted labs to try out as well. You can rate the labs online and submit your own labs too. After you solve a puzzle, you can view other people’s solutions too. (I wish these could be seen BEFORE you solve it, in case you get stuck).

What if I get stuck?

Each level has a couple of text hints which cost you a couple hundred points to use. There’s a limited number of quick views which allow you to take a peek at a certain area to give you an idea of what it should look like. Lastly there are a couple of reveal solution options too. If you use all of these options up, there’s really no online community that I found. As a last resort, you can reset the chapters and start over if you remember how you solved the previous puzzles.
Appropriateness
I was pleased to find no swearing like the minor cussing in the original version. With that cleaned up, I can recommend this game to tinkerers of all ages.

Stability

For the most part, this game ran fine. You cannot Alt-Tab out of the game. A couple of times my mouse cursor lost focus and I couldn’t do anything but shut off my computer.

Conclusion

This is a fun game for the whole family. It’s not an easy game but the player labs can keep younger minds entertained. My toddlers enjoyed the menu area where you can fling things around the room. Did I mention how cool the physics were in this game? For less than $20 you’ll get many hours of enjoyment or frustration if you get stuck and use up all of your life lines. Before you buy this game, make sure your video card has 512MB of RAM.

Final Ratings

Game Play 15/20
Graphics 8/10
Sound 7/10
Controls 4/5
Stability 4/5
Appropriateness 50/50

Final Score 88%
 
 

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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