The creators of Angry Birds, the game which created a worldwide sensation and started a whole new digital trend is finally back with their much awaited title called Amazing Alex HD. With Amazing Alex HD, Rovio Studios are trying to give the genre of puzzle solving a whole new dimension. Of course, with the world’s most successful mobile game under their belt, the expectations from the end users are high as well. In this review of Amazing Alex for iPad we are going to find out whether the teenage boy can create another sensation. The review is going to cover the basics of gameplay, the character himself and talk about the graphics and overall appeal of the game. So, let’s get started.
Who is Alex?
Alex is a mischievous young kid (in his early teens) who loves creating experiments with everyday equipments. In this game, you will find a short comic strip that shows Alex getting bored after being scolded by his teacher in the classroom. The character itself looks lean and thin with spiked yellow hair giving you the impression of a junior rocket scientist. Alex quickly finds himself engaged with the classroom equipments and trying to create long chain processes. Hence, Amazing Alex (the game) is born. Although Rovio attempted not to do anything with birds or other creatures, but the main character is pretty likable and you will find yourself instantly drawn to the world of Alex.
The Basic Gameplay
If you ever played games like Angry Birds or Cut the Rope before then you will instantly find yourself familiar, at least with the basic structure of the game. There are a total of 350 levels that are divided into groups. Each group consists of a few levels which becomes increasingly difficult as you progress through them. The groups are named pretty interestingly like Classroom, Alex’s Bedroom etc. giving you the impressions that the gameplay happens with items that are closer to Alex’s world.
The basic objective of the game is to solve a puzzle. At first puzzles might appear very simple like putting a ball inside a basket or flying a balloon free which is attached to a rope. What makes things so interesting is the fact that these tasks require you to create a chain reaction of events in order to accomplish them. For example: let’s say you need to cut the string attached to a basket. Now in order to manipulate your scissor you might have to sling another ball from the other corner of the screen, make the ball slide using wooden planks and finally moving other objects like punching bags that will eventually touch the scissor and make your balloon fly away. At the beginning of each and every stage your objective is masked with arrows and sketches.
What makes Amazing Alex HD so interesting is the fact that tasks in every level can be completed in multiple ways and you are free to use your creativity in full throttle. However, your objective should be to complete these tasks by collecting all the stars in that particular level. Upon completion, your solution is rated on a scale of 3 stars depending on the number of stars you collected. The rating system is pretty similar to that of Angry Birds. A very useful addition to Amazing Alex and why the game is so socially viable is the ability to share your solution with others via Game Center. As I said, no two solutions can be same and you will occasionally find yourself getting stuck at a particular level. Instead of scratching your head all day or searching through YouTube you can simply touch the “show idea” button in the pause menu and you can instantly see a picture the best possible solution for that puzzle. Now, it took me a while to figure out that you can actually click on the idea image in order to set it up exactly like that on your device. One thing must be noted, idea sharing and viewing needs internet connection as you cannot download and store them for later use.
Every level gives you an arsenal of tools, equipment etc. to complete them. You need to work your brain here because not all of them are required in order to complete your level. Overall, the gameplay in Amazing Alex HD is very addictive and engaging for all age groups. Although I managed to cross the first few levels in no time, but things got a lot complicated from the group called “The Backyard” where you need to work with slings, ropes darts etc. to solve each level.
Creating your own levels
Amazing Alex HD allows you to create your own levels and share them with others. As you progress through the default in-game levels, more and more equipments are unlocked for your creation mode. Creating a custom puzzle is very simple and I loved the way Rovio structured the entire process. At first, you need to enter creation mode where you will find a mega arsenal of all the tools in your object box at the lower end of the screen. Place the three stars on the canvas and then work out the entire puzzle using the various tools so that your object can collect all the stars. Once you are happy with your chain reaction process touch the check mark button on the top right and corner of the screen. Now comes the interesting part where you will remove parts of the solution and stack them in your toolbox so that others can solve your very own creation. Once everything is done according to your liking again hit the check button to complete your very own level. You can name your level and even email your friends or simply upload it to the web. On the flip side users can even download various puzzles created by other players. The entire Eco system of Amazing Alex HD is designed in such a way that you will never find an end to this game.
Graphics and Physics
Rovio is known for their cartoonistic graphics and some awesome physics system. With their previous game, Angry Birds we have seen how the destruction and particle system responded accurately to each and every projectile of the birds slamming into them. Things are no different in Amazing Alex. The graphics is primarily 2D with illusions of a 3D environment as if it’s viewed from the side. Textures and colors are very vibrant yet simple with just shades of plain solid colors. The textures are also optimized for the retina display on the new iPad. Although the main character Alex rarely appears on the game (only in comic strip style story telling) it is designed with great detail and precision. The objects and their animations are deadly accurate. I have to admit that the physics engine in this game is so much improved and realistic that even a hairline movement of any object here and there can make a huge difference to your outcome. Balls bounce accurately; acceleration and motion turns are precisely calibrated. Amazing Alex blows away any reputed game in terms of Physics, I mean it.
Rovio did an awesome job with Amazing Alex HD. Not only did the game live up to the expectations of its predecessor but also improves in various areas such as physics and social sharing. This is probably one of the very few games for iOS where new stuff can be created and played by the users themselves making it a never ending experience. The social sharing aspect of solutions and custom levels are pretty easy to grasp and makes you feel like a part of the large Rovio group. Amazing Alex will surely test your brain and make you think smarter once you complete all their levels. I highly recommend this Game for all iOS users.