Fantastic Contraption caught me totally by surprise. I saw the graphics in iTunes and my mind conjured up images of tinker toys. I couldn’t have bee further from reality. Fantastic Contraption, by inXile Entertainment, is a great way to pass away several hours, maybe days or even weeks.
The app downloaded and installed without a problem. After a precautionary reboot of the iPhone I was ready to get started. The first screen I see after launch is a message to go through the tutorial. Better advice has never been given. While the app seems simple, the many facets and levels to the game need an explanation. The tutorial took several minutes to view and perform the basic concepts of the game.
Tinker Toys, it’s not, but it is vaguely similar. The idea behind the game is to build a machine, contraption if you will, and move a pink object, either a circle, square or rectangle, to the pink square. Sounds confusing but in practice you put some wheels together, maybe a stick or two and turn the contraption on. It will either get to the goal, stall or fall off into space. You don’t need an advanced degree in physics to pass each level. An understanding of concepts such as action/reaction, gravity, etc may make your contraption a little more predictable. I found trial and error worked well for the first few levels then I started noticing what concepts worked well and what didn’t. I found that one or two simple basic designs could be modified to meet most of the challenges of different levels.
The 43 levels of play get successively more difficult. If one levels stumps your contraption simply swipe the screen and move onto the next. There is even a level editor that allows you to build and save custom levels. Levels can even be uploaded and shared with other game players around the world.
The quality of graphics is good, but very simple. The music level is adequate and easily muted. A help (?) key is always accessible in the lower left corner, below the mute button. The bottom left and right corners have minus and plus buttons, respectively. They allow you to zoom in and out to be more precise in the construction of your contraption. The start button is a good size and in the upper left corner. The upper right corner contains an expanding cloud that contains all the building blocks for your contraption. Touch the cloud, select your component and place it in the construction area. Link the various components and press Start. Your contraption will either succeed or fail. If it fails, add a wheel here, move a link there ad try again. It really is a lot of fun. I passed hours going through the various levels. I might even be addicted.
I highly recommend this game. It’s not an adventure, nor action packed, or a thrill a minute. It’s just plain fun. If you like building things or figuring out how things work, get this game, you’ll be busy for hours. Currently, as of this writing 1/27/2009, it is offered at an introductory price of just $2.99. Fantastic Contraption, at this price, is a steal and I give it 5 stars.