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Many years ago, a game came out on the PC called the Incredible Machine. This game gave players several items like a laser beam, levers, pulleys, and so forth to create contraptions that do oddball things. Things like fire rockets, lead a guy to his home, or smash a fishbowl and have a cat eat the dying fish (yes, you could do that.) It was a great game and a smash hit. Now comes ThinkSMART Crazy Machines, an attempt to rejuvenate the formula, and it barely misses. The game gives three game modes – the Play Level, the Sandbox, and the Party Games. The Play Level has up to 50 levels; each level has you putting the final pieces of a contraption together so it does a certain task or tasks. The Sandbox lets you create your own contraptions – with a limitation. And the Party Games has up to 50 mini games where up to three players can compete to see who can grab the most items. But hold on a second, the game puts heavy limitations on what you can do from the get go. Only 5 of the 50 levels in Play Level, 19 levels in Party Games, and almost no item in the Sandbox are available. The only way to unlock the material is to play through the levels in Play Level and Party Games – and if you get stuck on one level, too bad; the game won’t help you at all. Another problem is the description of the items you use; in Incredible Machine, each time you pick up an item, you are given the option of finding out what it’s purpose is. In ThinkSMART, you have to back out to a submenu and find the item in an alphabetical list. This can frustrate players who just want know what something does without having to keep going back to that submenu over and over again. ThinkSMART Crazy Machines had potential, but all that locked material and lack of help ruin a game that could’ve been the next Incredible Machine. SKIP IT.
I had played the demo for Crazy Machine Elements on the PS3, and I was intrigued. I figured that this game would be the same, or pretty close. I also was hoping that the other review here was from someone who just didn't play puzzle games. No, the other review here is only wrong in how generous of a score is given to this game.
As for locking out content that needs to be opened due to story progression, I can get behind that: why would the final dungeon in a Zelda game be open from the beginning of that adventure? It gives you a chance to learn how to do things. But this game doesn't make figuring out how to do anything very easy. If you sit through things long enough (I could only last 2 hours, but I knew it was pointless 30 minutes in), you'll come to points where you want to place parts in obvious places, but the game won't let you, and you have no idea why not. One of the puzzles, I only solved by picking a part and randomly clicking on the screen for about 90 seconds until the game accepted the placement, and then the contraption just worked.
I never did track down what particular pieces did, other than trying to guess, but even then it was mostly magic. The other review called out the index of what does what, but it wasn't something I came across organically.
The controls were horrible. Yes, it is a Wii game, but the controls screamed shovel-ware to me. If my wife wasn't in the room with me, I would have thrown the controller.
The "party games" we tried were basically tech demos to show how precisely you can control the wiimote using the poorly handling controls: we both agreed that washing 3 large dogs in the bathtub at the same time was easier and much more fun.
The only reason I am willing to give this a 2 instead of a 1 is that I did at least make it through the first 20 of the 50 single player puzzles before I finally said enough is enough.
I may still buy the PS3 DLC, but after this game, it better be on a STEEP discount.