Apr 28, 2011
Physics based puzzle games are a good fit on mobile platforms thanks to the short, encapsulated nature of the levels. Any game trying to break into that genre has to prove itself worthy in order to draw attention away from the competition. Manic Mechanics earns a spot at the top of the crowd thanks to interesting gameplay and some surprisingly robust community features.
Many physics based puzzle games have one fixed goal for each level. Some games require you to bring a ball to a goal, some games require you to chain a series of gears together, but they all task the player with the same basic goal in each level. Manic Mechanics sets itself apart by giving you a different task to complete in each level. In order to beat one level, you have to make two basket balls bump into each other, while another level might require you to knock a bowling pin off of a ledge. The variety present in the level design really keeps Manic Mechanics feeling fresh throughout all of its 56 levels.
In order to achieve the goal set forth by each level, you’ll have to place different objects and platforms in strategic positions throughout the level. Once you press the start button, the physics kick into effect, and any items you placed in the air will fall, balls will roll, and hopefully, you’ll beat the level. Many levels actually have more than one possible solution, leaving the player free to find their own way through each level.
The only thing that interferes with the gameplay in Manic Mechanics is the controls. Selecting an object can be an exercise in patience thanks to unresponsive controls. Once you’ve selected an item, moving it where you want it isn’t nearly as intuitive as it should be. Once you get the game to acknowledge that you want to move an object, it can be extremely challenging to figure out where to place it. The game often thinks an object is overlapping another object when it doesn’t actually appear to be overlapping. It can also be difficult to see where you’re placing an object through your finger. The ability to zoom in for a closer look at what you’re doing helps with these problems, but they do still interfere with the gameplay.
Once you complete all 56 levels included with Manic Mechanics, the fun’s not over. There’s a custom level creation system in place that lets you build your own physics based puzzles, and then share them with other users. You can download user generated content from within the game, or you can enter the URL of a custom level. At the time of this review, there were only two user created levels available, but with any luck, as the game grows in popularity so to will the number of levels available.
Despite some control issues, Manic Mechanics provides a great gameplay experience, and user generated content could keep the game fresh for a good long time. If you’re into physics based puzzle games, you need to take a look at this game. The rich feature set more than makes up for the control issues.