Here’s a game that was released for a very specific audience: fans of The Incredible Machine series. It’s rare to still see a full-fledged XBLA title come out that is this under the radar, but here it is: Crazy Machines Elements.
The game is pretty simple: you are presented with some objects, a machine, and a puzzle you need to solve with said machine. The machine is a Rube Goldberg-esque contraption that, when set off, begins moving a cavalcade of different mechanics and items. You need to place the objects you have in a specific way in order to achieve your object. It’s as simple as game concepts get, but the puzzles themselves can be devilishly difficult.
If you are a fan of these kinds of puzzles, you will find a ton to love here. Each puzzle can be solved a number of different ways and they present you with numerous parts and gizmos to fool around with. In the basic puzzle mode, you have no real time limits or things to stress over: it’s just you and the puzzle. There is also a challenge mode that offers, well, more challenging puzzles complete with a time limit and more specific objectives. You will get a lot of value out of this game.
There is also an editor that allows you to create your own puzzles. That being said, you will have little to no guidance when attempting to do so as there are no real tutorials for this mode to speak of. It just starts and says “Hey, make something!” If you’re someone with an incredible amount of patience, you might get something out of this mode, but I can’t imagine even the most diehard Incredible Machine fans finding much to like here.
There really isn’t much more to be said about Crazy Machines Elements. If you think this is the game for you, there isn’t much in the way to prevent you from enjoying it. The presentation is bland and the editor is less than ideal, but as a very basic puzzle game that goes back to a bygone era, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything else like it.
Pros: Well-designed puzzles, plenty of content
Cons: Bland presentation, awful puzzle editor mode