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Game Info:

Contraption Maker
Developed by: Spotkin
Published by: Spotkin
Released: July 7, 2014
Available on: Windows, Mac OS X
Genre: Puzzle
Number of players: 1
Price: $6.99

Thank you, anonymous Reddit user, for sending us a copy of this game to review!

In the 1920s and '30s, a cartoonist named Rube Goldberg created a series of comic strips featuring bizarre inventions. These contraptions detailed convoluted ways to do rather simple things. For example, the directions for making toast might be like this:

When the alarm clock (1) rings, the man (2) will hit the snooze alarm. This will trigger the lever (3) that will pull the rope (4) attached to the door of the cage (5) letting out the flock of birds (6). All the birds will wake up the cat (7) who will get up out of his bed (8). With the cat out of bed, the button under the bed (9) will pop up, releasing the flow of water from the dam (10). The flowing water will turn the wheel (11), generating electricity in the turbine (12) and supplying power to the toaster (13). It's simple!

Highlights:

Strong Points: Wide variety of puzzles; cute graphics; good music
Weak Points: Sound effects can grow annoying
Moral Warnings: Cartoon violence; minor undead references

These complicated devices became known as "Rube Goldberg devices" and have appeared in various media in the decades since their earliest appearance. In 1993, a game was released for Windows and Macs called "The Incredible Machine" that allowed the users to create machines similar to these. The game prompted several sequels over the years. Now, Spotkin has released "Contraption Maker," which has been described as a "spiritual successor" to the Incredible Machine. 

In Contraption Maker, the user is given an array of parts. Some are relatively mundane, such as light bulbs, thumbtacks and electrical outlets. Others are more bizarre, including antigravity pads, hungry cats and devices which generate endless amounts of dog treats. The player uses the mouse to drag-and-drop these pieces into the playing field in order to create a machine that solves the object of the puzzle, whether it's turning on a light bulb or feeding a hungry crocodile (his name is Steve).

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 84%
Gameplay - 16/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 92%
Violence - 8/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 8/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

The game comes with more than 200 puzzles, but it is possible to connect with online communities to obtain other, user-generated puzzles and contraptions as well. The game also includes a sandbox mode, where the player can go ahead and try to put together their own contraption, using only their imagination. This plays out a lot like the early "Incredible Machine" games in this regard. While some of the puzzles can be difficult, it's possible to take a look at the official solution while within the game. It could even serve as a challenge to find a solution that's even quicker or more efficient than the original! If played on Steam, the game even offers more than 20 achievements, and trading cards.

The graphics of the game are cartoonish and nicely animated. The music in the game shows a nice variety of tunes, and are well orchestrated. The sound effects, on the other hand, grow stale before too long, and some could even become annoying. 

For the most part, the game is pretty family friendly, with only little cartoon clouds to indicate when something violent happens, like when a cat catches a mouse. That being said, there are some puzzles that use zombies.

The premise behind Contraption Maker is simple and stems from a long history of making complex devices to perform simple tasks. For those who enjoy puzzle games – and especially creating unusual and offbeat puzzles – this could be an excellent addition to their games library.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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