”Panga ballongen pappa, panga den!” my two-year-old daughter Rut shouted with enthusiasm. Translated from Swedish to English it means “pop the balloon dad, pop it!”. This is the first game where I have actually have some help from my two daughters in finding new ways to solve the puzzles. They have found the concept of being able to use scissors to pop balloons, and get stars for their effort. Still the game is at times really hard, and I have had to spend up to thirty minutes understanding how I am supposed to get that ball to land where I want it. Casey’s Contraptions is the kind of game where a level can get stuck in my head, and the solution to that particular level pops up days later. That is because the game wants you to think for yourself, and there are often more than one way to solve a level. This is important to me because I don’t like to be led through puzzles led by the hand the way that Feed Me Oil kind of does.
Casey’s Contraption is the game I would have created when I was seven years old. Being able to create long sequences of actions that in the end lead to a balloon being poked by a scissor has always fascinated me. Now I finally get to try both solving such puzzles, and create my own using the level editor.
Snappy Touch is most known as the company responsible for loads of people getting their inboxes jammed full with images of flowers. Now Flower Garden seems distant when I have played Casey’s Contraptions for a couple of weeks. Still they share an attention to detail, and ease of use that is really good.
Each level has three stars to collect, but most of the time I am happy just getting one of them and the desired end result. Casey sets up each level with an object that has to be moved somewhere, or some action that has to happen. There is nothing weird about the tasks, and most of the physics feel fine. Levels are played inside the rooms of Casey’s house. This gives the game a cute, and realistic setting.
As you complete levels new objects are unlocked for you to use to create your own Rube Goldberg-esque machines. These can be sent through email to friends, and you can challenge them to solve your puzzles. This is an excellent idea, and if I had some more skill I would challenge you all. But currently I haven’t managed to create something more intricate than what the floor looks like when my kids have played with Lego all day. Game Center integration for scores, and achievements also add to the game life.
The presentation is clean, colourful and immediately appealing. The rooms are varied in graphics, and all objects are easy to distinguish. I get happy playing the game, and so do my kids. I am not too fond of the music that is mostly subdued jazz-pop. The odd sound effects seem taken from real life objects, and hence sound like they should.
Casey’s Contraptions is a true gem, and it is one of the few games that I as a parent can play with my kids and enjoy it with them. Multiple solutions, 70 challenging levels, great graphics and unparalleled online sharing functionality makes Casey’s Contraptions a must buy for the iPad.
Casey’s Contraptions $2.99
Seller: Snappy Touch