Games as education has always been a passion of mine. Where playing is the learning. It is really hard to get right but I really think Crayon Physics Deluxe has nailed it, although I appreciate I am not a Science specialist and can not assuredly make that statement. So what is Crayon Physics Deluxe?
It’s a place where castles, dinosaurs and rockets look like they’ve been scrawled by immature hands to set the scene for a physics puzzle game, originally launched for the PC more recently ported to iOS. What the game does for you, is to apply physical properties to your scribbles, which it does with enchanting accuracy.
Crayon Physics Deluxe first hit the headlines when an early version somewhat surprising won the Indie Game Festival in 2008. It was then officially released in early 2009. I can remember emailing the Director of Science at the time…. but that is as far as it went. The next time my interest was perked was when I saw CPD in Humble Bundle III and for less then £5 I purchased it, and a bunch of other indie titles. I again had to wait, this time until I thought my 3 year old son would ‘get it,’ and last week we had our first ‘play.’ Outcome – he loved it and is most certainly hooked, in search of his next ‘eloquent solution.’
Simple as it sounds, CPD is a delight to play. A very gradual beginning, that teaches as you progress. Equal parts physics and creative problem solving, the game also draws on both your imagination offering you the chance to solve the problems logically, creatively or eloquently. I think that the game designer himself best explains it….
The levels are very open ended and the whole point of them is to be there to teach players certain mechanics. Once they’ve mastered the mechanics, the game becomes more about finding the most creative/awesomest solution to the puzzle presented. That’s the reason why I didn’t go for the usual restrictions that are in puzzle games, like limiting the resources you have and only allowing one or two right solutions to the puzzle. – Petri Purho (CPD Designer)