The Even More Incredible Machine. (computer game) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
by Scott A. May
Don't look now, but someone forgot to lock the laboratory door. Too late! Those wacky Dynamix designers, Jeff Tunnell and Kevin Ryan, are loose again with The Even More Incredible Machine, a brilliant follow-up to last year's masterpiece of mental mayhem.
More of a replacement product than a sequel, the game combines the original's 87 levels with 73 all-new brainteasers. This version also adds 13 new machine parts, bringing the total number of goofy gadgets to 55. Among the latest additions are pinball bumpers, teapots, nails, wood and dirt walls, and super balls. Also look for Ernie Alligator and his favorite food, the blissfully dense Mel Schlemming, the human lemming. The new levels are bigger, funnier, and, as you explore more deeply, decidedly more difficult. The final five puzzles are guaraneed to stump even the most seasoned problem solvers.
The premise remains as simple as ever: Achieve each puzzle's goal by adding spare parts to a partially completed machine. Although the solutions often appear straightforward, your zany box of tools makes even the simplest task a mind-bending chore. Inspired by cartoonist Rube Goldberg's bizarre contraptions, the machines you can build are wonderments of homebrewed ingenuity. More than just silly animated fun, however, the game holds bona fide educational value. With an obvious few exceptions, the game's madcap mechanisms have been designed incorporating real-world physics, resulting in surprisingly accurate cause and effect. Because these's no single correct solution to each puzzle, the program also encourages the use of creative thoght and innovative strategies.
One of the game's best new features is the ability to build and share interactive puzzles with fellow machine-heads. Whereas the original version allows you to build only self-running demos, the new system functions more like a genuine hands-on construction kit. The design process is a snap: First, assemble a full workin machine, preferably one that accomplishes an anusual taskd. Next, remove a series of integral parts and place them--along with several decoys--in the toolbox. Then lock the remaining items in place so that they can't be moved by frustrated puzzle solvers, write some descriptive text, and save it to disk. The resulting file can be freely distributed to other owners of the game. The even More Incredible Machine is divine madness--a delightfully addicting, thoroughly intelligent arcade game that should not be missed.