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After a few years of ridiculous success based on one franchise, Rovio has decided to release something without any Angry Birds in it. That something is Amazing Alex, a Rube Goldberg-style physics-puzzler the likes of which we’ve seen many, many times before. While it is a very good game with nice polished visuals and charm, it’s not great and has some uneven design. It’s definitely worth playing if you’re into these kinds of games, though.
Each level gives you various random goals to accomplish by making absurdly overly complex contraptions. Generally, you’re trying to get certain items off the screen or into a basket, things like that. You do this by setting up tables, balls, pipes, mechanical boxing gloves, slingshots, bumpers and many more things. There is a nice variety to the mechanics, but the game design lacks flow. It takes a little too long to really get going, and the difficulty curve of the game is rather erratic.
Amazing Alex is essentially a re-skin of another fairly popular game, Casey’s Contraptions. Rovio bought up the rights to it, removed it from the app stores, and put this game out instead. The original game had its flaws as well, and Amazing Alex retains many of them by not changing too much. But this review has been overly negative so far, so now let’s hear some praise. Levels are often very cleverly designed and open ended, leaving you with several ways to solve them. The real challenge comes from that one configuration that will let you collect all three stars as well. Some of these puzzles are serious stumpers, and while sometimes I feel there isn’t enough direction, it only makes things that much more satisfying when you succeed. On top of all that, Rovio’s top notch art and music are excellent, and you can expect them to release tons of new levels in future updates. It’s not a great game, but it’s definitely worth playing. Amazing Alex is available for one dollar at the time of this review.