Crazy Gears

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Crazy Gears App Poster Image
Fun STEM-themed free play with easy offscreen connections.

Parents say

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Kids say

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational value

Kids can learn about physics, problem solving, planning, and logic as they solve puzzles. Tools such as gears, pulleys, weights, and rods introduce kids to a new vocabulary and arsenal of machinery. Big science and engineering ideas such as gravity, friction, and tension inform how and why these tools perform and function as they do. Read the background information with kids to make connections between these puzzles and real-world machines, such as cars and construction equipment. As kids navigate how to move rods, moving and unmoving wheels, and turning gears, they practice strategic planning and problem solving. Through Crazy Gears, kids may discover that STEM topics are fun, highly relevant, and easily accessible.

Ease of play

No instructions necessary; kids learn by doing. Use fine motor skills to tap and drag.

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Crazy Gears is a problem-solving game that gets kids thinking critically, problem solving, and exploring physics and other STEM topics. There are no instructions -- kids experiment as they figure everything out on their own. A parents' guide provides background information, definitions, fun facts, and project ideas, though it's not embedded into gameplay. Since there's essentially no instruction, gameplay is accessible to all kids no matter what language they speak. Parents who don’t speak English, however, will not be able to read the handbook.

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What's it about?

Play in CRAZY GEARS is introduced with a simple instruction: "Find a way to pull yourself to the next level." Kids figure it out on their own as they drag and drop various items into place, experimenting to discover different ways to connect a ball and chain so the next level gets "pulled" across the screen. Through 61 levels, the number of tools and gadgets increases, including wheels, gears, rods, pulleys, weights, racks, hooks, and more. If parents sign up for an account, they can create multiple user accounts, so individual kids can play and not lose their progress. A parents' guide offers lots of definitions and background information.

Is it any good?

Crazy Gears is a great opportunity for kids to explore open-ended play and experimentation. Even on the 2-D screen, kids get a really good sense of what gears, weights, pulleys, and other simple machines do. Lots of levels, many with multiple solutions, should keep kids engaged for a while, even if some levels feel repetitive. Though the parents' guide can be dense, it's worth reading, and it's definitely worth sharing the definitions, gadget names, and fun facts with kids. It would be great if the information also were embedded in the game itself. Parents can track kids' progress through the levels, which can help provide inspiration points for which areas to explore more together. Allowing kids to devise their own levels would be a nice feature.

Though the digital experience doesn't capture everything about the machines (such as how much torque is necessary to lift a really heavy item with a chain), this is a really creative, highly accessible -- and fun! -- option for exploring physics and engineering. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about problem-solving strategies. Which obstacles are on each level? What things can kids try to solve the puzzle?  

  • Read through the parents' guide to help name the different tools and big ideas each level introduces. Learn about gears, friction, tension, rack and pinion, and more. Talk about where kids can find these things in real life.

  • Help kids build similar contraptions in real life and experiment. 

App details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love engineering and STEM

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