IGN Review of MechanicMaster
Ever since the Nintendo DS hit the scene more than four years ago, one game we've been hoping to experience on the touch-screen handheld is The Incredible Machine, a fantastic puzzle game that utilized all sorts of Rube Goldberg-esque elements to challenge players in solving problems. It's taken that much time for someone to finally give us what we've been asking for: Mechanic Master is a shameless concept clone of The Incredible Machine. It's not a straight-out copy, and it's not quite as cleanly developed as the classic, but it's clear that the developer pulled much of its inspiration from The Incredible Machine to create this fun, if slightly sloppy, puzzle design.
Mechanic Master uses a strange "alien invasion" presentation to revolve its puzzles around: you either have to kill all the blob aliens in an area, save all trapped humans in an area, or a combination of both of those tasks. Each level has some sort of hook to it: you have a set number of items to use in the specific layout, and they must be positioned in such a way that they all work and interact with each other to squash the aliens, knock aliens off a platform, or nudge them into blackholes.
There are two distinct puzzle types in Mechanic Master, and both use the force of gravity to pull off the puzzle challenges. The main type is the Rube Goldberg method of rolling balls, turning on fans, wrapping belts around gears, or positioning trampolines in creating a mechanism that'll get the task done. The other combines Kirby Canvas Curse, Line Rider, and – believe it or not -- Portal: paint lines to guide pre-set items around the environment to get balls and crates to slide around or robots to follow, and create portals by drawing a complete circle and get items to warp from one side of the screen to the other. If a falling crate enters one portal, it'll fall out of the second portal at the same rate. Sounds familiar, right?
Ultimately, Mechanic Master succeeds as a fun puzzle game because there's so much to do and so many ways to do them. Even after you plow through the hundred pre-set puzzles, you can even create your own challenges and send them to buddies on other systems -- though they'll need a copy of the game to keep it for themselves. But the game isn't without its problems: as fun as it is, the game feels like a homebrew thanks to very little focus in the game's visuals. While the game might have accurate feeling physics, it's sort of ruined by the lack of expected effects like animation of a ball rolling or a crate flipping around after it bounces. These sophomoric sprites lack the visual punch, and it's hard to think that this is the best a professional developer could do on the system.
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