A 2008 Independent Games Festival Grand Prize winner, Crayon Physics Deluxe is now available in the App Store, brought to us by Hudson Games. Crayon Physics Deluxe is a combination puzzle and drawing game, in which players “draw” solutions to various stages. The object of each stage is to get a little red ball to roll to the stars in the drawing. With various gestures available, the drawing concept translates well to the touch aspect of the iPhone/iPod Touch making Crayon Physics well suited for a mobile game.
The graphics in Crayon Physics Deluxe are done entirely as simplistic drawings rendered in crayon, which in a way sounds elementary, but in truth comes off rather smart. There are two modes of play, one which allows you to play and clear the various levels of the game and another called “level edit” that allows you to experiment with different ideas and draw your own level. In game mode, there are a total of 50 levels, each with their own unique puzzle presentation.
Using principles of physics and mechanics, you must determine how to draw a solution to each puzzle. Some objects that you draw, such as boxes, will respond to the force of gravity and fall down the page or possibly interact with other pre-set objects. Fulcrums and levers come into play with a circle gesture, which creates an anchor point, and spreading and pinching allow you to zoom in and out.
The early levels of Crayon Physics Deluxe are quite simple to solve, but as the stages progress, they become more difficult. The nice thing about the game is the ability to choose any level at any time rather than playing through each level sequentially. Therefore, if you become stuck on a stage, you can try the next one or even attempt a more advanced level to see if there are clues to previous ones.
Not having a particularly creative mind when it comes to physics, I found several levels that completely stumped me. While I admit it’s frustrating to not “get it,” I enjoyed the overall presentation and interface well enough to keep trying. The accompanying background music is relaxing, there is no limit on the number of attempts or time to clear a level, and frankly, the crayon replication is rather rewarding since you can also just goof off while waiting for the solution to hit you.
While some shoppers may balk at the $4.99 asking price, it’s a fair bit less than the PC version and Crayon Physics Deluxe possesses a relatively strong replay value. I can’t say I fully appreciated the level editor, but those with a creative side who enjoy designing their own puzzles might and it does provide an added value. I may have drawn only about half of the game’s solutions, but I was able to draw the conclusion that Crayon Physics Deluxe is a fairly intelligent and well-done game.