The Incredible Machine: Even More Contraptions gives you exactly what its name implies--more puzzles. The game is essentially identical to last year's Return of the Incredible Machine: Contraptions, but it includes more than 250 new puzzles divided into several different difficulty levels. Like its predecessor, Even More Contraptions is an excellent puzzle game that features humorous Rube Goldberg-style machines, and it is sure to please amateur inventors and puzzle game fans alike.
Each puzzle in the game has a set objective that can be anything from feeding cheese to a mouse to lining up different types of balls in a cage. To accomplish these feats, you must place different items into a partially assembled contraption. The game offers more than 100 machine parts that include simple items such as bricks, bowling balls, rope, and pulleys, and more complex parts like lasers, timers, miniature blimps, explosives, toasters, and fans. There are also a number of humorous and unusual parts, like an ape-powered motor, a mouse-powered motor, an alligator, and a miniature person. Each puzzle has a limited number of specific items, and you must try to place them in the correct positions to complete the chain reaction that will achieve the desired result. A puzzle might require a ball to fall onto a lever, which pulls a rope attached to a spring-loaded match, which lights the fuse to a rocket, and so forth. What makes the puzzle challenging is that only a portion of the items are in place at the beginning, and it is up to you to complete the contraption.
To avoid unnecessary frustration, the game includes hints for all but the most difficult puzzles, and it encourages a trial-and-error approach to puzzle solving. Once you get a setup that you think might work, just press the start button and see what happens. There are no penalties for failed attempts--in fact, most puzzles can be solved in multiple ways, and even incorrect solutions are often entertaining. In addition, failed attempts will often yield clues to a correct solution. The freedom with which you can position items, the multiple solutions to each puzzle, and the game's use of Newtonian physics give the game a sense of realism despite its apparent outrageousness. Balls bounce the way they should, ropes and levers work as they should, and while antigravity pads don't actually exist in real life, they operate in the game as you would imagine they should.
In addition to the wealth of single-player puzzles, the game includes a complete tutorial, more than 60 head-to-head puzzles, and a puzzle construction set so you can create your own puzzles and share them with other players over the Internet. The game's point-and-click interface is intuitive, and while the game's two-dimensional graphics won't impress players who are used to the latest 3D technology, they do a good job of representing the contraptions in a colorful cartoon style. The music in the game is upbeat and enjoyable, although it can get old after you've been working on a puzzle for a long period of time. The game's sound effects are effective--dynamite explodes with a bang, balloons pop, and the ape on the treadmill growls and yawns. In addition, all of the game's objectives and instructions that appear in text on the screen are read out loud by the host.
Overall, The Incredible Machine: Even More Contraptions gives fans of the previous game a whole new set of challenging puzzles, and it is also an appropriate game for puzzle fans who haven't tried the previous games in the series. Like its predecessor, it is sure to appeal to amateur inventors, fans of Rube Goldberg, and puzzle game fans of all ages.