Rube Goldberg was best known for his cartoons that were all the rage during the 1920s. These cartoons often featured complex machines (bordering on the ridiculous) that performed simple tasks. Why do you care about Rube Goldberg and what do Rube Goldberg machines have to do with Rovio’s new iOS and Android game, Amazing Alex? This game is based largely on the notion of the Rube Goldberg machine.
Amazing Alex is a simple cartoon character that must complete a number of tasks using a Rube Goldberg machine. More than that, Amazing Alex is Rovio’s risky follow-up to the smash hit that is Angry Birds. Does Amazing Alex live up to the Rovio name? Will you be spending as much time playing Amazing Alex as you do playing Angry Birds? And, is Amazing Alex worth one whole dollar (ok, $.99 cents)?
The Amazing Alex Interface
I tested Amazing Alex on an iPhone 4, and I found this game’s interface to be very easy to use. Players are presented with various Rube Goldberg contraptions that are missing random parts. These parts are present at the bottom of the game screen, and can be moved by dragging and dropping items into the correct position (the position is outlined). As soon as a missing part has been added to the machine, pressing play will allow a soccer ball (first level) to roll down the machine and hit three gold starts along the way. These starts are then collected and added to a user’s overall score.
If a portion of a Rube Goldberg machine is not added properly, the soccer ball will not hit the gold stars along the way and points will not be collected. At first, this game is very easy to use and can be, at times, a tad mundane. However, as players go along with the game, more than 100 different levels can be unlocked, and these challenges become harder and harder as one moves along.
How Amazing Alex Compares to Angry Birds
Angry Birds is a no-brain kind of game. The only thing that players have to do is choose a bird, pull back that slingshot, and hit an angry pig. Amazing Alex, on the other hand, requires a bit more attention to detail. If a player can’t put the Rube Goldberg machine together properly, a game cannot be completed. As mentioned, the parts that are needed to complete a game become more complex as levels increase, so attention might really be required at a higher level. As far as the first level goes, Amazing Alex is simple enough to play while walking or riding on bus.
I also think it’s important to keep two things in mind while playing this game and comparing it to Angry Birds. First, Angry Birds is a game that was developed for both children and adults, but, really, cornered the adult mobile gaming market. Angry Alex, on the other hand, was developed for kids. Second, Amazing Alex was not actually developed by Rovio, but was, instead, purchased from an independent gaming development company. The difference between the Amazing Alex game and Angry Birds is clear when playing either game. That said, Amazing Alex proves to be a fun game that I’m sure I’ll get a lot of use out of. Rovio’s new game is now available for both iOS and Android, so go ahead and give it a shot.