Developer: Denis Butyletskiy
Price: free Download on the App Store
There are a variety of alchemy games for pretty much every platform and iPhone has its own abundance of them – some paid and many free. Denis Butyletskiy created his version of Alchemy for iPhone in 2010 and it has a current total of 231 elements. If you’ve never played an alchemy game, you should definitely give it a try and the free Alchemy app for iPhone is as good a place as any to start.
The premise of alchemy is to start with only basic elements – earth, wind, water and fire and to create new elements by combining them. The goal of Alchemy for iPhone is to create all the elements available, with the ultimate element being gold. While a great many of the basic combinations should be obvious to even the most novice alchemist, there are a few surprising ones that may prove completely unexpected, if not down right bizarre (but in a good way).
Alchemy is a fun version of element mixing, but has a few flaws. These flaws can almost be overlooked because the app is free, but the design layout definitely presents a couple of problems. Like many apps, the trade-off for Alchemy being free is that it is ad supported. In many apps this isn’t a problem as the scrolling and flashing banner ads are unobtrusive. With Alchemy, you’ll have to get accustomed to their position on the screen, which is front and center at the top. Your alchemist arsenal of available elements is located directly beneath and since you must scroll through them, the inadvertent opening of ads is almost unavoidable. This is only a minor annoyance on devices with multi-tasking, but on older devices with an outdated iOS, it can be downright frustrating to have the ad launched and then to restart the app.
Besides the positioning of ads, the side scrolling access to available elements begins to get daunting after accumulating about 75 elements. By the time you get half way to completion, the scrolling, and scrolling, and scrolling through elements necessary to play Alchemy on the iPhone becomes a true labor of love. The elements are somewhat color-coded, making it a bit easier to locate something specific if you remember metals have silver borders, living things have pink, and so on.
Aside from flaws in the overall layout, Alchemy really does encompass the curious addiction of combining elements. In a quest to create life, in the forms of bacterium and plankton and finally beast and man, the seemingly endless possibilities reveal both the obvious and the not-so-obvious. By the time you’ve unlocked the more obvious elements (and a few not so obvious), you can move on to fun stuff – like creating the FBI and Yoda.
Obviously Alchemy isn’t a game for everyone and while it does have its drawbacks, it is certainly entertaining enough for the curious and persistent minded. As far as feeling all powerful, well, not so much. In fact, many players will likely grow tired of failing to find the last few remaining elements and seek the advice of other alchemists by way of Google. Whether you play obsessively or cheat your way through, playing Alchemy on your iPhone provides a semi-entertaining way to kill time in the form of a casual, passive game.