There’s no denying that Rovio hit an all-out jackpot with their disproportionately popular Angry Birds franchise. Through an endearing visual style and soundboard, and clever marketing, they made what was essentially a pretty average game into a phenomenon.
Amazing Alex is Rovio’s first non-Angry Birds game, and is decidedly less banal and more demanding of the gamer. The game is a result of Rovio’s buy-out of Casey’s Contraptions last year, and their subsequent decision to rebrand and re-stylise it.
Just because Amazing Alex mimics the visual style of Angry Birds, however, does not make it a similar game. This is a challenging and brain-teasing puzzler that demands forward-thinking and trial-and-error, so don’t be fooled by the cutesy graphics.
Each level gives you a different objective – be it pop a balloon or create a domino effect of random objects that eventually guide a tennis ball into a basket. The assortment of backyard odds and ends at your disposal is vast, and it’s not long before the game stops guiding you, forcing you to use your lay knowledge of chain reactions and cause-and-effect to complete the puzzles.
As you’d expect from Rovio, there is a vast number of levels, leading you from Alex’s classroom to his treehouse, and there is the bonus challenge of trying to collect all the stars on each stage.
Yet where Rovio have really outdone themselves is by letting you create your own levels, share them with the world, and download levels that other people have created. This really opens the game’s appeal up to infinity, and there’ll no doubt be a strong community of Amazing Alex wizzes sharing their crazy contraptions.
Alex himself is admittedly a slightly goofy protagonist, and he certainly lacks the appeal and marketability of Rovio’s red feathered icons, but the game itself is a gem. The ‘kid’s backyard’ style of the game is appealing, but it’s the ingeniously simple-yet-clever, cause-and-effect gameplay that’ll have you hooked for a long, long time.
Knowing Rovio, there’ll be updates, new levels and new objects aplenty in the future. Amazing Alex is available to buy on App Store for 69p and Google Play for a mere 65p. Either way, the game’s a steal and you should own it.