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spacer all reviews > > > problem solving software

Crazy Machines The Wacky Contraptions Game

Viva Media

Ages 8 and above

Rating Scale
5 = great,    1 = poor
Educational Value
Kid Appeal
Ease of Use

Craxy Machines screen shot arrow indentSystem Requirements

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Crazy Machines, The Wacky Contraptions Game is an intriguing puzzle game, where the user is presented with 100s of objectives, and a collection of 3D parts with which to build machines that meets those objectives. Using parts like pumps and pipes, generators and electrical wire, and bombs and balls, the user must build "Rube Goldberg" contraptions that can move objects, drive nails, and shoot cannons.

Educational Value

Crazy Machines challenges the user to understand and apply many of the principles of basic physics; force and motion, action-reaction, gravity, electricity and more. With very little instruction, the user is given a place to experiment using a predefined set of parts, to try and build a device that can accomplish the objective. Along the way, the successful user will acquire a working knowledge of the principles involved, as well as processes and sequencing. Random clicking and guessing don't work here - the user must think through the problem requirements and the consider the properties and capabilities of the parts available.

Kid Appeal

Good graphics, easy to manipulate parts, and simple instructions allow the user to focus on the puzzle challenges themselves, rather than on mastering the art of game play. One challenge - what to do when you're stumped?

Ease of Use / Install

Crazy Machines installed without difficulty on our reviewers' test machines. After installation, the program can be run without the CD - a nice feature, especially since it doesn't gobble up a huge amount of hard drive space in the process.

All of our reviewers reported that the program is both easy to use, and challenging. Easy, in the sense that program navigation is intuitive; challenging, in that some of the puzzles and experiments can take time to figure out, and the printable manual offers no solutions.

Best for... / Bottom-Line

Crazy Machines is best-suited for puzzle lovers and those that have a good sense of logic. We liked it as a great rainy-day activity, suitable for home and classroom use.

See SuperKids' comparisons with other problem solving software titles, and the Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC and Mac versions.

System Requirements
PC: Windows 98/ME/2000/XP, 800 MHz or faster cpu, 60 MB hard drive space, 32 MB RAM, DirectX 8 compatible display, 2X or faster CD-ROM, DirectX 8 compatible sound card .

Mac: MacOSX 10.3 or later, 1.25 GHz G4 or faster cpu, 60 MB hard drive space, 32 MB RAM, 32 MB ATI or nVidia graphics crd with OpenGL 1.3 or higher display, 4X or faster CD-ROM .

Reviewed on:
-     Pentium 4 - running Windows XP Home Edition, with 500 MB RAM and 24x - CD-ROM
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