Crayon Physics Deluxe Review

Crayon Physis won the IGF Grand Prize in 2008

Crayon Physis won the IGF Grand Prize in 2008

The Level Select Screen looks sloppy to me

The Level Select Screen left a bad taste in my mouth

Review by Mike

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Gameplay: 10
Graphics: 8
Sound: 9
Appeal: 10

Final: 92%

Grade: A

Editor's Choice

Crayon Physics Deluxe is about as high a profile indie game that you can get, after all it won the grand prize at the Independence Games Festival last year. The game is a 2D physics puzzle / sandbox game, where your drawings are transformed into real physics objects that interact within the game. The game is based on the experimental game, Crayon Physics, which was completed in less than 7 days by Kloonigames way back in June of 2007. It’s definitely interesting to see where the game started (check out Kloonigames for the old free version) and how far it has come.

The gameplay for Crayon Physics has been solid since the original free version, but the deluxe version adds a whole lot of functionality and gives the player even more freedom of the imagination. The basic objective in the game is to get the red ball to the gold star. You achieve this by building any solution that you want. The game gives the player the immense freedom to create nearly anything within the game’s engine. You can create a swinging mallet, a rolling car, or a complex series of ropes and pulleys; the imagination is truly the only boundary. That being said, there are usually pretty simple and straight forward solutions to the game’s levels and the same tactics can be used to solve a large number of them…but that’s really only a problem if you WANT to be boring.

As you collect stars, you will unlock new islands and more puzzles. You are free to tackle an island’s puzzles in an order you like which is nice and limits the frustration of getting stuck on one particular level. The game comes with a great level editor where you can create your own levels and share them online. There’s already a bunch of additional levels to download on the game’s website. You can’t help but wish for a tablet notebook or one of those new HP touch screen PCs with this game. While the mouse controls work great, the game’s drawing mechanics are perfectly suited for the tablet & touch screen PCs of the world and would give the player an even more immersive drawing experience.

The crayon graphics, paper textures and backgrounds all contribute to the allusion of your drawings coming to life and work well. I am especially fond of the way the crayon lines animate and fluctuate. I think this subtle animation helps create a surreal atmosphere that fits well. Another great thing about the game is how a level is loaded and drawn right in front of you. While I appreciate the crayon lines, loading animation,and the general artistic direction of the game, the fact remains that the game is relatively simplistic graphically.

I think I would have forgiven the basic colors and shapes of the game’s levels if it weren’t for the appalling simplistic level and island select screens. I really wish that the islands weren’t just green outlines labeled ‘Island.’ I think actually drawing an island with varying topography and various green shades and giving it the crayon filter would have been fantastic. While I can appreciate the ability to draw whatever I want on the level select screen…I would like to have something aesthetically pleasing at the start. This is being nitpicky, but it was a large sore on my experience with the game and left a bad taste in my mouth…especially since the title screen is gorgeous while maintaining the look and experience of the game.

The music is incredible. It’s surreal, laid back and fits the mood of the game perfectly. It helps immerse the player in their crayon world and enjoy their journey there. There are practically no sound effects in this game… and that’s okay because the music is so amazing. I can’t help but wonder if sound FX would’ve given the game an even more immersive feeling. I think some general impact and interaction sounds would have brought my drawings to life even more.

Lasting Appeal:
The game is incredibly easy to pick up and play and a joy to play and experience. The game itself may be lacking in challenge and puzzle variety, but the player is granted the freedom to make the game as challenging and complex as they can imagine. The game was updated several times during our review process with new features, additional stars, and other challenges which was nice to see. The game’s website playground has a plethora of downloadable levels for anyone looking for something new outside the hundreds of levels that come with the game.

Crayon Physics Deluxe is an atmospheric romp in creativity that must be experienced. It has its flaws, but when you boil it down, the game overcomes its shortcomings because it gives the player the freedom to pretty much do whatever they can imagine. Imagination is an inspiring thing for a game to give.