A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What 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'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.
Talk to your kids 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.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
- Subjects: Science: engineering, gravity, physics
- Skills: Creativity: combining knowledge, imagination, making new creations
Collaboration: meeting challenges together
Thinking & Reasoning: hypothesis-testing, problem solving, solving puzzles
- Price: $.99-$2.99
- Pricing structure: Free to Try, Paid, Free
- Release date: July 12, 2012
- Category: Puzzle Games
- Size: 20.70 MB
- Publisher: Rovio Entertainment Ltd
- Version: 1.0.4
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 4.2 or later
For kids who love puzzles
Our editors recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.