This week’s Indie Game Review is a little more casual. I sat down and checked out The Ingenious Machine, made by sc0tt games. This game is essentially a puzzle building/solving Rube Goldberg Machine, or what a mad scientist does to relax. You start with a ball and a button. Objective: Press button.

Here’s their quick description from the game page:

The Ingenious Machine is a single-player, physics-driven puzzle game for Windows and Mac. The player is presented with a series of light bulbs, and occasionally some obstacles. The goal of each level is to switch on the light bulbs by creating an elaborate machine out of a pre-defined array of gadgets. The gadgets range from sensible items (such as fans, magnets and conveyor belts) to more extreme items (such as flame-throwers, dynamite and lasers)..”

Impression:

This is a sweet little game. The basic goal of each level is to press a button(s) thus lighting its respective light bulb. You get more points for making the method by which you do this more complex. There are a variety of tools the player can use that are all somewhat cartoonish in nature. Basically it’s like playing with Wile E. Coyote’s blue prints. Laser guns, TnT, trapezoidal weights, and flame throwers make up a portion of the tools you get to play with.

ingenious machine2

Gameplay Style:

This is a 2D physics puzzle game. You get to build your own contraption by selecting parts from a menu and dropping/placing them on the screen. Once everything is in place you press start to release the ball and see what happens.

Story:

No story, but if there was one I like to think this is the nightmare of the guy who eventually invented The Clapper.

Visual style:

The entire style of the game is laid out on blue-print graph paper. All of the text and game assets are drawn in white pencil type graphics. It works well for this kind of game and everything flows well. That is to say while there might not be high end rendering, nothing looks like it was neglected or buggy.

Audio:

Like the graphics the audio is not super complex. There is a little rag time playing in the background. All of the items that can be interacted with have sfx that play when used. I did throw TnT into just about every level so I could hear something blowing up….

Good:

  • Good casual fun
  • Quite repayable.

Bad.

  • I had no idea that the sides of the blue prints were actual boundaries like the top and bottom were.
  • Sometimes physics is mean.
  • I would have liked a replay button along with the continue option after completing a level (also a good sign for the game).

ingenious machine3

Sean Weiland

Sean Weiland

Sean is game designer with a sorted past. Ask him where he's lived and he will give you more than 12 answers. Ask him what he does for a living and he might say "game designer" or he might say "I dance".Ask him about indie games and he will give you a dam honest opinion informed by over a decade of audio, design, and development experience.
Sean Weiland