You might remember Rovio as that tiny little company that made that small-time game, “Angry Birds“. Apparently they’ve gotten bored of angering birds, and decided to make a new game! Today, on both Android and iOS, Rovio has released “Amazing Alex“, a physics-based puzzle game. Does Rovio have another Angry Birds on their hands, or is this game set to be far less than amazing? I dig into the Android version to find out!
So what is Amazing Alex? Amazing Alex is a physics-based puzzle game that sees the titular character, Alex, attempted to thwart the evils of homework with a creative imagination and a few things laying around his room. In much the way you may have turned a refrigerator box into a spaceship, Alex uses everyday items to create zany puzzles that the player must then solve. One puzzle might find you launching a soccer ball into a clothes basket, while another might have you knocking down large cardboard robot monsters with a pool ball. Through visual cues only (seriously, there are no words or instructions in this game) players have to use their wits and imagination to figure out what exactly Alex is trying to achieve.
So…for those of you that are old enough to remember the early days of PC gaming, you might remember a little game called The “Incredible Machine“. I’m going to go ahead and say that Rovio might have borrowed a wee bit from that game as gameplay is very similar. Game makers borrow from each other all the time, though, so it’s not a huge issue, especially considering Rovio has really dumbed down the gameplay. Amazing Alex still has the escalating difficulty in much the same way as their previous games, though.
Amazing Alex is cute. There, I said it. The design is fun, the music is calming and relaxing, and this game has all the makings of a Rovio game. The animation is fantastic and the colors are vibrant and just pop right off of your device. From a graphic standpoint, I cannot gush enough about it. From a design standpoint, the game is really easy to pick up and play and, as previously mentioned, requires nothing more than visual cues to understand. I’m usually hesitant to play a game that doesn’t give me instructions, but Rovio seems to have really nailed the method of giving instructions without giving instructions.
My only complaint about the design might be that the puzzles can get a bit frustrating as you go on, especially after you’ve rotated a table for the 400th time. Gameplay can, in much the same way as any of this mini-puzzle games, get repetitive.
Amazing Alex is a lot of fun and definitely worth picking up and playing. It’s the type of game that allows you to pull out your phone and play a few puzzles while you’re waiting in line at the grocery store, or knock out a bunch while you’re sitting on the couch. The best part about Amazing Alex is that Rovio has decided to go with their Free/Pay business model. If you don’t mind looking at ads occasionally, you can pick up the free version of Amazing Alex. For $.99, you get an ad-free, fun-to-play physics puzzler. Rovio might not be able to repeat the success of Angry Birds, but Alex really is amazing, and they’ve definitely got a hit on their hands.
Gameplay: 9/10 (Fun, but a bit repetitive at times)
Graphics/Design 10/10 (Amazing Alex really shines here)
Sound: 10/10 (Fantastically calming and fun to have playing in the background)