July 12, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka
I didn’t “get” Angry Birds when it debuted on Android. How anyone could have fun in a game in which players fling birds at a bunch of pigs was beyond me. But as I moved beyond the easy stages and started getting more challenging levels, I realized how much fun it could be to think about the right amount of force at the right angle could knock something over. Amazing Alex, the latest game from the game studio that created Angry Birds, gives me that same feeling.
Amazing Alex starts out ridiculously easy and guides the player through the first few levels to explain how to use certain game elements. A combination of balloons, book shelves, boxes, gadgets, tubes, and more are used to do things like get a ball in a basket or pop a balloon. Items are stationed and positioned in specific ways to ensure that the target is reached, and in a domino effect set-up, one element can be positioned to trigger another.
Stars are positioned throughout each level, so players earn points for having items travel over them. The goal on each level is to touch all the stars and complete the stated mission. So if the goal is to get two tennis balls off a bookshelf and into a basket, players have to take a given set of items and figure out how to do that and get as many stars as possible. That means they’ll position a bookshelf on each side, rotate them at a 45 degree angle, and then put a ballon to rise up to another bookshelf and hit a soccer ball that will push the tennis balls over the edge. Then it’s just a matter of letting the laws of physics play out and hit the stars for full points.
Amazing Alex is not a groundbreaking, Earth shattering game, but it provides the same style of gradual complexity that made Angry Birds so enjoyable. I doubt it will have as much commercial success, and I think Cut The Rope is more fun, but Amazing Alex is an enjoyable take on a familiar genre. The game has more than 100 levels to keep you busy, so try out the free version (16 levels) and upgrade to the $0.99 paid app to get the complete experience. There’s also a $2.99 HD version to play with higher quality graphics.