Tired of slinging Angry Birds? Then perhaps you'll like the newest mobile franchise from Rovio, the best-selling game's creator. Amazing Alex is another physics-centric puzzle stumper, and takes you inside the mind of a young boy (Alex) who lives in a messy house. Alex arranges household items in creative Mouse Trap-like ways using a plethora of blocks, ramps, skateboards, toy trucks, and spring-loaded boxing gloves; each level's goal is to manipulate these elements to move a given object from point A to point B. (Watch a trailer below.) The game is available for 99 cents on both Android and iOS smartphones. Rovio's Angry Birds franchise has already been downloaded more than a billion times, and singlehandedly turned the Finnish game developer into an industry powerhouse. Could Amazing Alex possibly live up to its pig-slaying predecessor's overwhelming success?
It's good solid fun: The premise, says Matt Peckham at TIME, in which a brainy kid "does battle with Rube Goldberg machines," is a "cool idea." And once you take "the training wheels off" and get past the first eight levels of "surprisingly bland tutorials," you'll find that the game supplies a steady dose of charming, creative fun. Unlike Angry Birds, you won't be able to "hand Amazing Alex off to your 6-your-old niece" and teach her to play in a few seconds. But "it's diverting enough if you're in the mood for a set-and-run puzzler."
"Is Rovio's Amazing Alex a worthy successor to Angry Birds?"
But it's no Angry Birds: Amazing Alex isn't that hard, says Chelsea Stark at Mashable, and its "sandbox nature" probably won't satisfy many sophisticated gamers. Plus, you don't get rewarded for achievements. There are no bonuses for solving a puzzle right the first time, or for not using all your pieces, or even for solving a level within an allotted time. In the end, the game is creative fun, but fails to deliver in the same way that made Angry Birds so maddeningly addictive.
"Amazing Alex: Fun, but no Angry Birds"
The game needs bad guys: Sure, it's a "clever puzzle game with an intriguing setup," says Brad Reed at BGR, but it's missing "the visceral sense of immediacy that made Angry Birds so fun." Angry Birds has those "wicked pigs" and their "smug obnoxious smirks"; players want nothing more than to make them shut up. That's exactly what a puzzle game like Amazing Alex needs: An antagonist to keep gamers coming back for more.
"Amazing Alex first impressions: It's clever but it needs some bad guys"