Frugal Game Reviews: Crayon Physics

Posted: 4th August 2010 by Mister Critic in Random
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Reviewed by Mister Parvenu

Remember when when you used to unroll a seemingly endless sheet of white butcher paper and start drawing? Those drawing would come alive in your mind. Crayon Physics does just that. It’s an obvious labor of love that lives on the fringes of what one can call a “game”, in much the same way as Flower or Flow.

Crayon Physics is less “played” than explored or experimented with. The goal of the game is to complete every level. Levels are presented to you via a “Super Mario 3” top down view of the world with a path dotted with nodes that represent different levels. The goal of each level it to manipulate a red ball so that it rolls into the star. Each level is a static side view of varied terrain, that can be complicated platforms or a simple as empty space.

The red ball can be gently pushed by clicking on it in order to start some kind of motion, but clicking the ball only imparts a very small movement. You must draw ramps, stair, seesaws and various other simple machines that materialize and on the screen and become part of the landscape that the ball can interact with in it’s travel toward the goal-star. As you progress through the game there are “tutorial” levels that show you how to build new primitive objects, like ropes, fixed axes, wheels, pulleys etc. There are also rockets that you’re able to use in interesting way to launch, drag, pull, hurl, or otherwise get the red ball to the star.

The whole game is rather hypnotic, the benevolently haunting music, the elementary-school ambiance, the whole experience is quite enveloping. Though the stated goal is to get the ball to touch the star, the real point of the game is, I think, to find the most creative way to do so. Often the simplest ways to complete a level are the least rewarding. Which leads to my one critique of the game. There’s no in game reward or encouragement for elaborate or especially creative problem solving, which is perhaps by design. After all, there really wasn’t any incentive to start drawing on that butcher paper as a child; other than your own amusement.

Watch the trailer here.
Crayon Physics Deluxe for PC (only) can be purchased here for $19.95