If anything, Amazing Alex is proof that Angry Birds maker Rovio has the Midas touch. (Well, in most cases.) The Finnish developer took an interesting iOS puzzler in Casey's Contraptions and applied its trademark polish while introducing an element that could very well see the game live on forever. That is, if you have the right device, but more on that later.
For those who had the luxury of playing Casey's Contraptions before its intellectual property was gobbled up by Rovio, the core play loop of Amazing Alex isn't much different if at all. Those who had no such pleasure will be greeted by a seemingly endless amount of Rube Goldbergian puzzles that require players to use a finite amount of objects to reach to a predetermined goal. Confused a bit?
At the start of each stage in Amazing Alex, players are shown what they need to do using the objects provided with adorable chalk drawings. For instance, a series of arrows and circles might tell players to make it so the tennis ball in the left corner finds its way into the laundry basket in the right--only it's resting up high on a wooden ledge. For even more of a challenge, each level features three stars to collect. That's mostly to drive to completionist in you mad, but there's more.
When you earn all three stars in a given level, whatever solution you came to is shared to a public repository made possible through Game Center. From there, you can check out how other players managed to collect all three stars in each level. Chances are their solutions are different from your own, especially in later stages when Amazing Alex becomes more complex.
The beauty in a feature like this is that it's social without much of any effort or input from the player outside of simply playing the game. But where Amazing Alex begins to shine brightest is after you've completed its four worlds and 112 puzzles. While it's available after you've completed the first set of 16 puzzles, the level editor is the crux of this reinvented puzzler. But players aren't just able to make their own levels--they are encouraged to share them when they're finished.
Of course, the idea is to then download these levels from the web-based portal where they all reside and complete them. With over 23,000 levels shared since the game's launch last week, we'd say the feature is a resounding success. But the experience speaks even louder than the numbers: While the puzzles are hosted on a special website, downloading and sharing new levels is quite seamless. Plus, there is always the allure of having your own level featured by Rovio.
But for all of Rovio's accomplishments with Amazing Alex, the process of actually solving puzzles can at times be a trying one. At least that's the case on devices the size of an iPhone. As the puzzles in Amazing Alex become increasingly difficult, they require more finesse with the touchscreen than even small hands and fingers can handle. (This writer would know.) It's easy to imagine the larger screen of, say, an iPad easily remedying this issue.
Control issues on smaller devices aside, Amazing Alex is one addictive puzzler. The cutesy visuals and catchy theme music certainly help with the hook, but it's ultimately seeing what other players come up with that keeps us coming back for more. Well, that and those blasted stars.
Click here to download Amazing Alex on iPhone for $.99 and here on Android for Free Now >
Are you digging Amazing Alex so far? What do you think of social level-and-solution-sharing features? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.