Crayon Physics Deluxe
I have to admit that at first glance Crayon Physics Deluxe doesn’t look like much. Even when taken into consideration that this is an indie game made by just one person, it still looks a bit underwhelming. However, to pass this game up because of its looks would be a grave mistake as it is definitely one of the most entertaining and unique titles I’ve played in a while.
The entire game is two dimensional and every object looks like a simple children’s scribble done with a crayon. Stages are all static affairs and look like a piece of crumpled paper with no background detail. Often all that is present on the stage is a red ball, a yellow star and maybe a few platforms. Your goal is simply to let the red ball touch the yellow star. Your tools? A crayon in the color of your choice and your imagination.
The selling point of the game is you can draw anything using your mouse (or even a pen tablet) and it will appear in the game with proper weight and physics. Now before you get excited bear in mind that the things you draw will still just be simple shapes. So for example, if you manage to draw a horse it is just going to be a horse shaped outline that will drop down from where you drew it and remain in place (or tip over if your drawing isn’t balanced). So the goal isn’t to draw detailed objects that will magically spring to life but to draw shapes that can be manipulated into maneuvering the ball to its destination.
The game holds your hand through the first few levels as you are introduced to the concept of drawing parts, pins and ropes in order to guide the ball around. With just over 70 levels you’ll have plenty of opportunities to shine on your own. Each level can be finished in many different ways and completing it is often not that hard, but the fun comes from doing so in the most creative way possible.
Stages can be restarted with a tap of the space bar and if the ball falls off the stage it will just reappear in its original spot. You can erase any object you’ve drawn with a right click and can jam a stage with a lot of objects before you “break” it and the stage restarts. It’s only after I’ve completed all the stages that I noticed the real challenges. Completing a level with an “elegant” or “old school” solution. To qualify as “elegant” you can only draw one object on the stage and you can’t click the ball to set into motion. This might sound impossible, but it’s really not that hard when you think outside the box a bit. “Old school” is a bit more lenient and your only restriction is you can’t click the ball or draw pins. You are also not allowed to draw objects underneath the ball for this solution to register. Lastly is the “awesome” solution which is any solution you deem elaborate and cool enough to be awarded this accolade. If the levels and all the requirements are still not enough for you then the level editor and online custom content might do the trick.
The game features some mellow background music which fortunately did not start to grate in the eight hours or so that it took me to clear out the game. Sound effects are a bit sparse, but you’ll be providing your own as you groan at a well though out plan hitting an unexpected snag or give a victory shout as you pull off a near impossible move. While there is no multiplayer it’s still fun to play this game with friends as everyone offers their solutions or crazy ideas for the challenge at hand.
The original prototype for Crayon Physics Deluxe won the Grand Prize at the Independent Games Festival and it’s easy to see why. Here is a game that will appeal to young and old. A game that is as simple or complicated as you want it to be. Those same graphics that look so stylishly simple also makes the game playable on a wider range of computers and believe me after a few hours of playing you will come to appreciate them more. Also don’t be surprised if you end up playing this game for longer than you thought you would. It’s that addictive.
- Operating System:Microsoft® Windows® XP/Vista
- Processor:1 Ghz
- Memory:512 MB RAM
- Hard Disk Space:50 MB Available HDD Space
- Video Card:Any 3D graphics accelerator with 128 MB of texture memory
- Sound Card:16-bit Sound Card
- DirectX® Version:DirectX® 9.0c
- OS: OS X version Leopard 10.5.8, Snow Leopard 10.6.3, or later.
- Processor: Intel-based processor
- Memory: 1 GB RAM
- Graphics: hardware support for OpenGL 1.1 or higher
- Hard Drive: 50 MB