A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Crayon Physics Deluxe is a nifty puzzle game that can teach your kids some physics. Play is drawing-based, wherein your cursor becomes a crayon, and once you draw something it immediately assumes mass and weight. There is nothing about the content to concern parents, unless your kids are old enough to tackle the puzzles, which start out easy but get progressively harder. Although kids as young as age 6 and 7 can play the early puzzles, the later puzzles are better for kids age 8 and up. Since there's no story line, this is a game best played by kids who like to do puzzles.
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What's it about?
CRAYON PHYSICS DELUXE is a puzzle game set in a familiar, childlike environment of crumpled paper with crayon drawings. Yet this juvenile environment houses a powerful physics engine that turns your scribbles into objects that have weight and mass. The game consists of 76 puzzles, all of which share the same goal: get the little red ball to roll over to the yellow star. Your cursor is a crayon, and you can draw anything you can imagine to solve the puzzle.
At first, solving a puzzle can be as simple as drawing a line between the ball and the star and clicking on the ball to get it to start rolling. But you'll quickly learn how to draw objects that fall, as well as platforms and ramps. As you progress, new concepts are introduced through drawn instructions. For example, you will see a small, round pushpin and dotted lines outlining a mallet. When you connect the dotted lines, the mallet appears, rotates around the pin, and hits the ball so it rolls over the star. The puzzles get more challenging by introducing levers and pulleys.
Is it any good?
For puzzle lovers, this is a fabulous game. Because the environment is made up solely of paper and crayons, it's a comfortable place in which children (and adults) can stretch their creative and scientific muscles. Its genius is that there's no right way to solve a puzzle -- it's all about how you use your creativity. The game also provides you with a way to create your own puzzle levels, and it allows you to upload them to the Crayon Physics Playground for others to share. Uploaded puzzles can be rated by stars, similar to the user-created content found in Little Big Planet.
Although your solutions are drawn on the screen with a computer mouse, you don't have to be good at drawing to play this game. It's about exploring how physics affects the objects you draw. What makes this game so good is it encourages you to expand your thinking -- if something doesn't work, you have to figure out why and try something else. If you really get stuck, you can check out video solutions shared by others on YouTube.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Platforms: Linux, Mac, Windows
- Subjects: Hobbies: building
Science: gravity, motion, physics
- Skills: Creativity: developing novel solutions, imagination, producing new content
Thinking & Reasoning: hypothesis-testing, prediction, solving puzzles
Self-Direction: work to achieve goals
- Price: $19.95
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Kloonigames
- Release date: January 7, 2009
- Genre: Puzzle
- ESRB rating: NR
For kids who love creative and imaginative games
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