Whether it was simplified creations born of Lincoln Logs or convoluted compositions created from Legos or Tinker Toys, there’s something satisfying in building. Fortunately, games allow us to easily experience this creative sensation. Magnificent Gadgets and Gizmos for the Iphone and Ipod Touch seeks to emulate this simple pleasure.
In case my introduction didn’t clue you in, building is the order of the day in Gadgets. Each level requires players to get a little object called a Goalon to the other side of the screen. However, despite it’s name, the Goalon can’t move on it’s own. You have to construct various devices to help it reach its destination. The chief tool in your arsenal is called the GoWheel, which comes in red, green, or black. Each GoWheel has a separate function; green ones roll right to left, red ones go left to right, and the black ones don’t move at all. GoWheels don’t do all the work though, as you also have to supply motive power to the Goalon. Three items do this; girder connectors, pipe connectors, and rope connectors. You have to employ all these items together to get the Goalon to it’s destination. Your gray cells are in for a workout, friends.
While your brain may be strained, at least your eyes won’t. This is one of the best looking games I’ve seen on the Ipod Touch. Everything in the game – from the title, the in-game menus, and the levels themselves – is well crafted and colorful. The graphics engineis incredibly smooth, and easily the best element of the visuals. There’s no lag or incorrect level design anywhere, just a sense of challenge and fun that makes the game more engrossing then the graphics alone could. The graphics also have a few extra bonus touches, such as a beautiful setting sun in the background or a burst of fireworks at the end of every level.
What’s better, Gadgets plays just as good as it looks. The whole game is touch sensitive (naturally) which you use to move around the level and build various gadgets. Simple enough, but the real innovation is in zooming in and out. Gone are the humble + and – signs, which have been replaced by finger movements. You place your forefinger and thumb on the screen, and move them outward to zoom out, and pinch them closer to zoom in. It sounds tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it does make the controls a lot more fluid then a more traditional control scheme.
Gadget’s audio offers a well-rounded variety of sound effects that are combined with the touch sensitive commands. There is, for instance, a peremptory Bzzz sound that occurs when you make an error, a click when you select something, and a variety of selection-based sounds. When you click on the metal pipe you’ll hear a metal sounding clink, and when you click on the rope you’ll hear a very unique ropey-type effect (yes, ropey is the scientific term). Light rhythmic music plays in the background, which does wonders for your inventive powers.
The game will keep you going for a while. Three difficulty each offer more challenges, with the easy stage having ten levels, the medium 12, and the hard 22. Unless you break down and use the Hint feature a lot, you’ll be at this game for a while. The combination of the well crafted graphics, audio, fluid controls, and the engrossing gameplay makes this game more than worth five dollars, especially if you like mind-bending puzzle games.