Review: Crayon Physics Deluxe

Jordan Deam

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Review: Crayon Physics Deluxe

Watch your drawings come to life ? without the need for mind-altering substances!

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Cogzwell

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i still actually found this game strangely annoying because of its music and the fact you would also sometimes do something that would make it so that you wouldn't be able to complete the puzzle, and the puzzles are alot easier then they think they are. but all in all its a fun game, i like world of goo better
 

L.B. Jeffries

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun and PixelVixen 707 both made a point about the game that I can't shake off: it's really easy to break the puzzles. You just slap two bolts onto a platform and then draw whatever bridge you need to the star, then nudge the circle along.

The question I get stuck on is if the game has an obligation to make me be more creative, which is possible, or let me suffer by rendering the whole thing dull. It's sorta like Far Cry 2, the game is boring if you don't experiment and take your time. Is that a bad thing?
 

Russ Pitts

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L.B. Jeffries said:
Rock, Paper, Shotgun and PixelVixen 707 both made a point about the game that I can't shake off: it's really easy to break the puzzles. You just slap two bolts onto a platform and then draw whatever bridge you need to the star, then nudge the circle along.

The question I get stuck on is if the game has an obligation to make me be more creative, which is possible, or let me suffer by rendering the whole thing dull. It's sorta like Far Cry 2, the game is boring if you don't experiment and take your time. Is that a bad thing?
Any game can be made un-fun by a knucklehead with a chip on his shoulder. Anyone with an older brother knows what I'm talking about. I don't see it as the obligation of the game designer to create an environment in which it's impossible to side-step the objective. If your solution is to draw a straight line and nudge, then, go you. I suppose that's an accomplishment of some sort.
 

Zallest

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I remember playing a little flash game of sorts like this game. I found it rather amusing to play and it was always kind of fun to find a wacky way to get the circle from about A to B.
 

L.B. Jeffries

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Russ Pitts said:
L.B. Jeffries said:
Rock, Paper, Shotgun and PixelVixen 707 both made a point about the game that I can't shake off: it's really easy to break the puzzles. You just slap two bolts onto a platform and then draw whatever bridge you need to the star, then nudge the circle along.

The question I get stuck on is if the game has an obligation to make me be more creative, which is possible, or let me suffer by rendering the whole thing dull. It's sorta like Far Cry 2, the game is boring if you don't experiment and take your time. Is that a bad thing?
Any game can be made un-fun by a knucklehead with a chip on his shoulder. Anyone with an older brother knows what I'm talking about. I don't see it as the obligation of the game designer to create an environment in which it's impossible to side-step the objective. If your solution is to draw a straight line and nudge, then, go you. I suppose that's an accomplishment of some sort.
I agree that you can definitely level break any open ended game but at least with Metroid Prime or GTA you know you're breaking the level. I like the game, I'm not shooting it down, it's just that I've never seen a puzzle game that required me to motivate myself to make solving the problem more complicated than it has to be.

It's just a sort of Gordian Knot dilemma, the reaction is to slice it with a sword not untie the knot.
 

Jordan Deam

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I don't necessarily think the game requires you to come up with the most complicated solution - it's more a question of what you find fun at the time. In your case, it seems like collecting stuff quickly and unlocking new levels is more fun than simply messing around in the sandbox. That's completely understandable - I ended up using the same pulley system for what felt like a couple dozen levels jut because it worked so well (and I was on a deadline).

I think Crayon Physics will likely prompt many of the same criticisms that LittleBigPlanet has - mainly, hardcore games will wonder, "Why am I playing this? Where's the game here?" There's nothing wrong with preferring a more structured experience.
 

Virgil

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I present, Exhibit A on why this game is brilliant:

[vimeo=2778083]
 

Anton P. Nym

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At first I wasn't terribly interested; intrigued by the concept, yes, but I really didn't feel any overriding need to play Crayon Physics. But it just occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, it'd work on my mini-Tablet PC... *scribbles madly with stylus, tongue sticking out of the left side of his mouth*

-- Steve
 

oneofm4ny

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Played the demo.

It's a nice toy, but not a good game. Like L.B. Jeffries pointed out, you can draw any shape you like and break the puzzles quickly. Being able nudge the ball left and right with a click makes it only worse. There's almost no sense of accomplishment. The abilities of the player could be more limited. Maybe restricting the number of objects and bolts you could use per level to spice things up.

It's fun for while, but it could have been more.

I really don't like the art style.

Enough pointless ranting ;)
 

Mariena

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I can't wait to hear the piracy rate on this game (It's not free, right?). Will it beat World of Goo?
 

Susan Arendt

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oneofm4ny said:
Played the demo.

It's a nice toy, but not a good game. Like L.B. Jeffries pointed out, you can draw any shape you like and break the puzzles quickly. Being able nudge the ball left and right with a click makes it only worse. There's almost no sense of accomplishment. The abilities of the player could be more limited. Maybe restricting the number of objects and bolts you could use per level to spice things up.

It's fun for while, but it could have been more.

I really don't like the art style.

Enough pointless ranting ;)
You can break any game if you try hard enough. The game shouldn't have to put a leash on you to prevent you from not playing it the way it was intended.
 

L.B. Jeffries

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Erm, there are a lot of staff interested in this one, so I'm not trying to be troublesome or anything. Even with this complaint there are a couple of levels I can't even beat yet despite fooling around for a while.

It's not that you can break the game, it's that there is no incentive to not break it. That just strikes me as unusual. There's no "Cheating is For Losers" incentive, there's no challenge to breaking the game like Metroid Prime. Honestly I don't even know if I'd say I was breaking the game, just focusing on beating the level to the exclusion of other incentives. If I really am supposed to draw elaborate robots and contraptions to play it the way it was intended, why the lack of coercion?
 

Jordan Deam

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L.B. Jeffries said:
Erm, there are a lot of staff interested in this one, so I'm not trying to be troublesome or anything. Even with this complaint there are a couple of levels I can't even beat yet despite fooling around for a while.

It's not that you can break the game, it's that there is no incentive to not break it. That just strikes me as unusual. There's no "Cheating is For Losers" incentive, there's no challenge to breaking the game like Metroid Prime. Honestly I don't even know if I'd say I was breaking the game, just focusing on beating the level to the exclusion of other incentives. If I really am supposed to draw elaborate robots and contraptions to play it the way it was intended, why the lack of coercion?
I wouldn't exactly call it "cheating," but it's probably not what the designer intended. Even after you've collected all 81 stars, it doesn't really feel like you've "beaten" the game. You can go back to your favorite puzzles and think up new solutions, muck around with the level editor or take a look at other people's levels (some of which are pretty amusing).

On that last point, I spoke with Purho about the Playground and thought I'd post his responses:

1) Will you be patching the Crayon Physics client to allow direct access to the Playground without having to use a browser?

"I'm planning of continuing to update both the game and the Playground. There are plans to integrate the playground directly into the game so that a web browser wouldn't be necessary, but I don't know about the schedule yet."

2) How do you plan to make the best/most intriguing levels more visible to players who may not have the time to sort through them by hand?

"There's the sorting by ratings, but also stuff like featured levels planned."

3) Will there be a way to load Playground files without saving them to your hard drive?

"I hope so :)"

4) What are your long-term plans for the Playground?

"I'm hoping that it will grow to have a life of it's own with a huge number of interesting levels. It's looking very promising for a week-old community with limited tools. I'm excited to see what will come out of it in the future."
 

oneofm4ny

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Susan Arendt said:
oneofm4ny said:
You can break any game if you try hard enough. The game shouldn't have to put a leash on you to prevent you from not playing it the way it was intended.
Yes but in crayon physics it's far too easy to break the rules. In most demo levels it's enough to draw an irregular shape fitting neatly in the abyss between the ball and the star and then just nudge the ball once. No need for swinging hammers and unfornately not much fun. Sure you could try something more elaborate, but there's no incentive to do so.

Any game imposes some kind of limitation on the player. It's not to force the player to play the game in the one and only way intended by the designer or to punish him, but to make the choices within these restrictions meaningful, getting the player to think about them, challenge him time and time again. For me the crayons physics demo achieves that in only a handful of levels. That's why I think it's a nice toy to be creative, but not a great game.
 

Theo Samaritan

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Crayon physics Delux follows the same vein as World of Goo in that the original idea began as a simple tech demo which became popular.

I give credit to these independent developer companies. Who calls for a Wii version? I think it would suit.

And before anyone calls me out mentioning this guy's bad luck [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/7.81142] in getting a dev kit, I see that these two guys [http://2dboy.com/games.php] were patient and had a huge Wii success.
 

Lima

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Ah I love this review and can't wait to play the game!
It seems game can be whatever difficulty you want and depending on creativity as crazy as you want as well!
 

Vlane

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Can you buy the game online somewhere or is it free? I'm kinda interested in it.
 

Susan Arendt

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oneofm4ny said:
Susan Arendt said:
oneofm4ny said:
You can break any game if you try hard enough. The game shouldn't have to put a leash on you to prevent you from not playing it the way it was intended.
Yes but in crayon physics it's far too easy to break the rules. In most demo levels it's enough to draw an irregular shape fitting neatly in the abyss between the ball and the star and then just nudge the ball once. No need for swinging hammers and unfornately not much fun. Sure you could try something more elaborate, but there's no incentive to do so.

Any game imposes some kind of limitation on the player. It's not to force the player to play the game in the one and only way intended by the designer or to punish him, but to make the choices within these restrictions meaningful, getting the player to think about them, challenge him time and time again. For me the crayons physics demo achieves that in only a handful of levels. That's why I think it's a nice toy to be creative, but not a great game.
An interesting and well thought-out counterpoint. I see what you're saying...not sure I necessarily agree, but I appreciate your taking the time to better clarify your point of view.
 

L.B. Jeffries

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Jordan Deam said:
Yup, true to his word the issue has been resolved. There are now different rewards for solving the puzzles without using bolts or string in addition to an 'awesome' award.

My favorite bit is that he decided the awesome prize is self-awarded. When you create a solution that you feel is artsy enough to deserve the prize, you give it to yourself.
 

Playbahnosh

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new_age_reject said:
You don't need to use mind altering substances, but when you do...
Hmm...that raised an interesting point. You don't need to come up with elaborate means to solve a puzzle, but when you do...

Sure, you can hack through the whole game in a mere afternoon if you choose to... but that isn't what this game is about. I don't want to use the "you don't need to understand this game, you have to feel it" cliché, but it certainly stands for Crayon Physics. The game, at least for me, radiates some wild emotional content.

Some say the music is annoying, the gameplay is childish and the whole game is too easy, pointless even. For me, the music is soothing, calming (strangely resembles the music from the Sims, somehow), the graphics, the vibrant crayon colors and the doodles are somehow make me feel like a kid again. For reasons undisclosed, I didn't really had a childhood like most people. I'm not that old, but (sadly) I'm an adult now, and this game takes me back to the childhood I never had. Combining it with some weird physics puzzles, that brought some much needed joy into my life, at least for a few evenings.

I think immersion, emotion and imagination are a must have part of any game.
 

Draygen

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Seems interesting enough, but I'm not likely to shell out 20 bucks when there is an almost identical physics engine game called Phun that is completely and utterly free. It doesn't have any nifty puzzles, but just for shear physics craziness, I'll stick with it.
 

Thirdman

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This game is a brilliant little time waster. Really clever but extremely frustrating at times.
 

Anton P. Nym

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Playbahnosh said:
Sure, you can hack through the whole game in a mere afternoon if you choose to... but that isn't what this game is about. I don't want to use the "you don't need to understand this game, you have to feel it" cliché, but it certainly stands for Crayon Physics. The game, at least for me, radiates some wild emotional content.
There are people who buy games in order to play them, or even to play in them. Then there are players who buy games to beat them.

Players who play the games will enjoy the play mechanics, explore the levels, poke around, and generally view the games as toys or even media for their own expression; these are the map explorers, the physics abusers, the machinamists. Players who beat games will seek the most efficient way to progress through the game, seek to be challenged by obstacles preventing completion, and view the games as tests of their playing skill; these are the pro players, the trophy collectors, the competitive leading edge.

Players who play the games don't necessarily care if the game is "too easy", so long as the game gives them enough to do/explore/use within it. Players who beat games will care.

Know your market, and target your games appropriately.

-- Steve
 

Playbahnosh

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Anton P. Nym said:
There are people who buy games in order to play them, or even to play in them. Then there are players who buy games to beat them.

Players who play the games will enjoy the play mechanics, explore the levels, poke around, and generally view the games as toys or even media for their own expression; these are the map explorers, the physics abusers, the machinamists. Players who beat games will seek the most efficient way to progress through the game, seek to be challenged by obstacles preventing completion, and view the games as tests of their playing skill; these are the pro players, the trophy collectors, the competitive leading edge.

Players who play the games don't necessarily care if the game is "too easy", so long as the game gives them enough to do/explore/use within it. Players who beat games will care.

Know your market, and target your games appropriately.

-- Steve
There are games for these people. I don't mean to polarize, but there are those "mindless shooters", like Painkiller and Serious Sam kinda "games" where there are you, a huge gun, and hordes upon hordes of enemies to slaughter in the cruelest way possible. And that's it. Nothing else. No story whatsoever, no immersion, no imagination, no "game world" to speak of, just a big arena and things to shoot at. These "game beaters" you speak of usually enjoy these games. A lot. And while they tend to play other games, they usually in it for the challenge, to actually beat the game in fastest, most efficient way possible. Speedplayers are like this.

But. This efficiency and being fast, this achievement driven gaming, when you beat a game only to have all the unlockables, Live achievements or rise to the top of the ranking list, to "finish the game already"... this defeats the purpose of many games, IMHO. It's same as life: It's not the destination that matters, but the journey. While it's only natural to want to know what's behind the next door, what's in the next chapter or on the next level, and yes, the ending is usually the best, but to play a game just to beat it, to be able to tell "yea, I finished that game in a day, am I good or what?", it's not good. Progression, character development (even yours in front of the screen), the story, the little things. I personally can't imagine to play a game like Mass Effect, KotOR, Oblivion or other RPGs, without going through the game at lest twice to hear all the dialog options, to see the story from every imaginable perspective, to play the game to it's fullest.

When I was playing Morrowind back in the day, I stumbled upon a speedrun video, where they went from the intro to the outro in mere 17 minutes, there were comments for that video with people praising the guy doing the speedrun, people who managed to do in 16, and some tricks to hack the game to finish it faster. (I managed to finish that game in almost a month, and I was playing almost every day.) For me, that video was a bullet to the brain, and I had only one question... "why?". Speedrunning the (then) longest, most immerse, imaginative, most impressive and awesome RPG of all time seemed like an insult, a kick to the crotch. This is just one lame example, but I think it's almost the same to say Crayon Phisics is a "meh." if you just beat it, it's like speedrunning Morrowind. Sure it may be fun for some people to "beat" the game, but that's not what that game is about.

Just my $0.02
 

geldonyetich

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Having played the demo, I'd say it's a very soothing game, but there's not much substance to it. There's like what - 5 operable parts? In terms of getting the mot bang for your buck, you might find your $20 better spent on World of Goo. Still, Crayon Physics Deluxe is a pretty neat little tech demo.
 

ReverseEngineered

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Apr 30, 2008
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drunken_munki said:
Not only is this game a copy of a flash game buts it looks like crap. Been done.
In Purho's defense, you've got it backwards. Crayon Physics was created June 1st, 2007 [http://www.kloonigames.com/blog/games/crayon]. The deluxe version was announce in-developement on October 1th, 2007 [http://www.kloonigames.com/blog/2007/10]. The version that looks like Crayon Physics Deluxe, Magic Pen [http://magic.pen.fizzlebot.com/] by Alejandro Guillen, even attributes the original idea to Purho's Crayon Physics (check the credits).

On the other hand, it's hard to justify paying $20 for something which already has a free clone available.
 

ReverseEngineered

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This game was quite enjoyable, but the solutions do lend themselves to abuse. I assumed it was a puzzle game, so I approached it with the goal of "find the first solution that works". Even if there are multiple solutions, that's generally the goal of a puzzle game.

In my opinion, this game is more of a sandbox game (toy) than a puzzle game, because there is almost always a trivial way to solve the "puzzle". The real challenge comes in limiting your actions (which the additional game modes help with) or finding creative ways of solving it (something fans of Fantastic Contraption can appreciate). While this is no less fun, it's not the expectation I was given (especially considering the challenge of the original Crayon Physics demo's limited abilities), resulting in me rushing through the game with some mild disappointment. Now that I've unlocked the further challenges, I believe things will be more enjoyable.

All in all, it's still a great game, but $20 is a lot to ask. That's more than Portal, and Portal took longer to finish and was even more fun to play. You could even get something like Penny Arcade's On The Precipe of Darkness for that much. A comparable game, Fantastic Contraption, only costs $10 to unlock the full functionality (though the main game is available for free). I believe this is a more reasonable price.