What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Amazing Alex is a puzzle game that challenges players to create inventive solutions using their wits and a handful of materials. Players are tasked with different goals and supplies to create contraptions to achieve those goals, then left to imagine how best to create the devices. Players can also create their own puzzles and share them with other players -- as well as download levels from other players, but they do not interact with other people directly. It's also possible to see how others defeated a level. Players can share high scores via the Game Center social network, but participation is optional.
What kids can learn
Thinking & Reasoning
- problem solving
- solving puzzles
- combining knowledge
- making new creations
- meeting challenges together
Engagement, Approach, Support
Kids will love the high-quality graphics, responsive and fine controls, and a simple yet engrossing concept: make your own machines.
Challenging yet accessible directives and a gradual difficulty-level increase makes kids feel empowered. They won't learn terminology or concepts through hints but will get logical feedback and can interact safely with other players.
A three-star system motivates but rightly takes a backseat to gameplay. Statistics like total time or attempts and way-to-save solutions (for Android) would be a nice addition.
What's it about?
Using items like balls, pipes, and scissors, kids create Rube Goldberg-like devices to solve puzzles and collect stars. Kids place objects on the screen wherever they want, then rotate the items with their fingertips. They accomplish goals (such as popping balloons to funneling balls into a basket) by creating a bridge, a domino effect, a swing, or something else entirely. There's no one "right" way to solve puzzles, and players can share solutions with others, as well as create and share their own levels.
Is it any good?
Developer Rovio purchased a clever app called Casey's Contraptions, polished it up a bit, and released it as a follow-up to Rovio's massively popular Angry Birds series. If you're expecting the next Angry Birds with Amazing Alex, you may be disappointed. The app, while incredibly fun and mentally stimulating, doesn't have that magic quality that made Angry Birds so successful.
It does, however, make much better use of its community, and that makes it unique. Players can share solutions to puzzles, and create and share their own puzzles with others. And it's all done in a way that's safe for kids to participate, as players only have access to gameplay and puzzles, rather than communication with strangers. Amazing Alex is a good game -- and one that will test your mental acuity.
Families can talk about...
Have kids use LEGOs or similar building kits to make real-world machines to achieve goals.
Allow kids to build and experiment using some of the objects that appear in the app. Have them compare and contracts how objects move in the real-world with how the game portrays them.