Crazy Formula

App review by
Kim Alessi, Common Sense Media
Crazy Formula App Poster Image
Science-themed puzzle makes for tricky play.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn logic and problem solving as they work to piece together a maze puzzle and, to a limited extent, can learn a bit about physics and fluid dynamics. Crazy Formula gives kids a starting and end point (sometimes more than one) and a limited number of pieces to connect them. They must then figure out how to connect points so that the fluid flows between the points without leaking. While Crazy Formula has no hints for players if they get stuck, kids who persevere get a confidence boost and may challenge themselves to solve more involved puzzles.

Ease of Play

Crazy Formula is a puzzle game that requires logic. Kids piece text tubing together then touch a red button to unleash a simulated fluid. If the tubing is properly placed, there is a chemical reaction. A clipboard give players results (pass or fail). Users must complete lower levels to unlock higher ones.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

Crazy Formula has an in-app upgrade -- $.99 for 40 additional levels. There's also a special lab book that takes players to a login page for Facebook.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Crazy Formula is a maze puzzle game set in a science lab. Players piece together bits of glass test tubes to form a maze then run a fluid through it to make a formula. The app has 90 different games organized into 10 "lab books" (40 more levels are available for purchase), and each game progresses with increasing difficulty. The play is intuitive, and short built-in tutorials guide players at key levels. Players can share high scores via the Game Center social network, but participation is optional.

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What's it about?

Players begin by placing short sections of test tubing to form a maze. Pieces come in straight sections, elbow, t, and plus sign shapes. Players must align all lab tubes in the correct position so the fluid can flow from the rectangular starting point (indicated by a colored dot) to its circular reaction chamber (indicated by corresponding colored arrow). Once tubing is in place, players touch the red start button to watch the fluid move through the maze. Higher levels have players mix colors or delay the flow of fluid.

Is it any good?

CRAZY FORMULA is a maze puzzle game requiring logic and foresight. There are no points to score; players instead piece together mazes to advance through levels. The app is fun and definitely challenging, especially as players progress through the upper levels, and is great for teaching prediction, reasoning, and cause and effect to kids of all learning abilities. The app's touch sensitivity is excellent, which makes for satisfying interaction, and its sound effect (clinking glass test tubes) and jazzy riff music are unobtrusive enough to be ignored or enjoyed (both can be turned off under the options setting).

The app's cluttered interface and lack of feedback are disappointing, though. While the focus of the game -- the glass test tube maze users interact with -- is front and center, it's relatively small and takes up only a fraction of the screen space. Several other objects take up more screen space and serve no purpose other than to simulate the look of a science lab, making this app's better if played on an iPad. And while there are occasional tutorials in key levels, Crazy Formula has no in-app hint system; if a player gets stuck on a level, they're on their own to either figure it out or skip the level entirely.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Model problem solving by thinking through a tricky situation aloud. Encourage kids to weigh in or talk out their problems, too.

  • Show kids how concepts in this app are used in real life, such as figuring out the best way from one place to another on a map or by looking at the human circulatory system on an anatomy atlas.

App details

For kids who love puzzle apps

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