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Magnificent Gizmos & Gadgets Review

Title: Magnificent Gizmos & Gadgets
Developer/Publisher: The Method/Publisher X
Platform: Apple iPhone, iPod Touch
Release Date: 04/11/2009
Number of Players: 1

Magnificent Gizmos & Gadgets is a puzzle game that plays very similarly to one that’s been on the web for a while now. Your objective is to move this purple ball into the goal area, which is a rectangle off section of the 2D playing field, however, the purple sphere cannot move on its own. Well, to be fair, it can move via inertia, but it can’t propel itself forward. In order to solve these puzzles and get this ball to the goal, you must build a machine or gadget using a handful of items.

At your disposal, you have a forward moving ball or wheel, a backward moving one, an anchor-like ball, and connectors, such as girders, iron bars, and rope. Like the goal area, there is a green area which is the only place you can use these parts to build your gizmo, so you are limited by the placement and size of this area, and your own imagination. You can actually build some crazy stuff, and you have to in more difficult levels, but the first handful of levels you can successfully complete with very basic constructions. For instance, you can start with a few wheels and connectors, and basically make a moving platform, but later levels will require you to make tanks and carts and even catapults.

Naturally, it’s not always easy to look at a problem and say, “You know what. I need a catapult here with a rope tied to the ball so it slingshots over this hump and then reverses direction to reach the goal. And I know exactly how to make one of those from what little parts I have. Simple.” Lucky then, that there is a decent hint system. When you start each level, you will be given a few hints, or suggestions to start out with, letting you know kind of what you should be thinking about. If you can’t come up with something though, you can go to the Hint option and choose from a small hint, a bigger hint, or to just have them throw the solution in your face. The first two hints give you a parts list and let you know how you should construct the necessary machine, while the latter actually gives you a working, or nearly working solution; a pre-built gadget. While the developers obviously have a certain design in mind, that doesn’t mean that you can’t go about a problem in your own way, creating a completely different doodad to solve the puzzle, so it can be fun to replay levels and try new things.

All together, there are 44 stages to play through; 10 easy, 12 medium, and 22 hard. The harder ones are more fun and introduce a lot of crazy puzzles which will really make you think and experiment a lot, unless you just go with the hints. The first levels are very simple, but then more and more things get introduced, like hills and walls, fans, cranes and hooks, large gaps, and other seemingly insurmountable tasks.

The controls for the game are pretty decent, although it can get a little tedious at times working with the undo/delete features. You have a graphical list of items on the bottom, which you can tap to choose and then place on the screen with a tap. Each ball has 5 connector holes, which can be easily selected, but make sure you’re zoomed in enough when connecting stuff, or you may miss the ball and have a hanging connector, which gets annoying. You can then replace items, making connectors longer as you go, which is nice, or delete or undo changes via separate options. These are all done fairly quickly and intuitively, as is restarting a level. When you are ready, click the Play button, and when you want to start over, hit the Pause button, where placements are reset; very easy and quick, so you can test your creation and tweak it with ease.

The graphics are also really nice. Granted, there isn’t anything crazy going on, like explosions or effects or anything, but the game is very polished, with everything having vibrant colors and smooth surfaces. The physics are also handled very well, and there isn’t any slowdown.

The Review

Storyline:
Set out on a mission to save the planet, you must somehow construct machines from what is left after the zombie apocalypse to transport vital orbs to a safe location….or…whatever other crazy scenario you can come up with to make the game more exciting.

Gameplay:
The gameplay itself is very simple; tap on an item, place the item, and press play to see what happens. Your goal is to move a purple orb to the goal area, but doing so may require some serious thought and construction.

Sound/Music:
Little beats and tunes that don’t get too annoying.

Graphics:
The graphics are very solid, with smooth textures and good lighting. However, there isn’t anything too interesting going on. There are backgrounds and everything, but nothing too graphic-intensive.

The Good:
Simple gameplay structure that will require some thought to progress in later levels, but the hint system is always there to help, as long as you don’t abuse it.

The Bad:
You can abuse the hint system, and simply get complete solutions to every level, but where is the fun in that? Also, there is absolutely no penalty for obtaining these solutions; your time score still gets recorded, with no notation that you used a hint.

The Ugly:
Some more mechanics could have made it more interesting.

Overall:
Magnificent Gizmos & Gadgets is a decent puzzle game, with 44 levels to play through, although you can breeze by the easy and medium levels. Also, once you play through the levels, there isn’t too much incentive to replay them, unless you’re creative and want to try to create outlandish machines. The graphics are sharp, and the controls are simple and responsive. Your time is recorded for each stage, but that’s the only indicator of how well you did. It would have been nice if there was a level editor or medal award system or something to keep you playing and trying new things.

Final Vote: 3.5/5

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