I Am Not Smart Enough For Fantastic Contraption

By Alec Meer on August 5th, 2008 at 10:52 am.

I made this

I hated physics more than any other class at school. And not just because of the time my teacher slammed me in the side of the neck with an exercise book, causing me to black out for 3 seconds. It was mostly because my brain seems to have some inherent inability to accommodate the kind of thinking necessary to understand forces and elasticity and so on. Which is annoying, as thanks largely to videogames I now tend to think not ‘physics’ but PHYSICS!

So I recognise that Fantastic Contraption is a thing of brilliance (awful, awful music aside), and I get enormously excited when I manage to bodge together something that works. What I can’t seem to do is plan what should work. Apart from level 5, where my ever-destructive brain correctly surmised that a battering ram was in order. Knocking stuff over is something I do understand.

It’s the bastard child of The Incredible Machine and Armadillo Run, possibly more limited than either but perhaps a little more instant with it. In each level, you’re moving your starting piece from a blue square to a pink square, as simple as that. Where it differs from Armadillo Run is that you’re building a vehicle rather than a course, bizarre constructs of rods and wheels that reshape themselves as they trundle across geometric obstacles. One level might require an undulating mecha-caterpillar, and another an enormous, ambulatory triangle with a pokey-pole sticking out the front. The shapes required will doubtless be immediately obvious to physics-heads; the rest of us can gradually piece it together by seeing just how far our initial constructs make it and exactly what grinds them to a halt.

It’s not necessarily anything new, but it’s very well put-together and the free version is pleasingly substantial. Go play. It also supports user-made levels if you cough up $10 for the full version, which is probably where the real fun lies. Most of all, it’s one of those games that’s hugely entertaining whilst also making you feel slightly smarter. Like snooker, but with more all-terrain parallelograms.

Thanks to Colthor, Daniel Blackburn and Delirium Wartner for the tip-offs.

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29 Comments »

  1. ImperialCreed says:

    I’ve been playing this for about a week and I put up the ten dollars almost immediately. The result? No office work done. At all. Avoid if you’re on a deadline.

  2. Wroth says:

    I think I’m solely responsible for our art department missing last week’s milestone due to me linking this game to everyone.

  3. The Poisoned Sponge says:

    When in doubt, ADD MORE WHEELS!

  4. Ian says:

    @ The Poisoned Sponge: Tru dat.

    This is, to me, like Phun but less complex and more willing to let me enjoy it.

  5. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    I’m not even s-m-r-t enough for level 2.

  6. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    Something messed up my comment. Just wanted to point out I couldn’t get past level 2, but then, I’m terribly tired today.

  7. Servitor says:

    Kind of reminds me of Magic Pen!

  8. Smee says:

    Some of the solutions on YouTube are inspired:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DY2NhVJjIIs

  9. El_MUERkO says:

    i play with PHUN most lunch times, generally trying to develop a helicopter that poops tanks

  10. espy says:

    This is AMAZING. Check out the Four Balls level and the completely different approaches people found to solving it! Mining carts, trebuchets, conveyor belts, wheels with paddles, sharks, all sorts of crazy stuff. This is my favourite:http://fantasticcontraption.com/?designId=7004

    There are more really good ones in the forum: http://fantasticcontraption.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=5&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

    Best flash game ever!

  11. Duncan says:

    Wowie wow!
    Seriously, after you’ve done each level, go back to the level select screen and click “Other Players’ Designs” underneath the level name. Then you can view people’s crazy mechanisms!

    Just clicking the 5 star-rated ones gives you some stunningly lateral thinking, beautiful simplicity and ludicrous maximalism! :-D

    Awesome stuff, cheers for the heads up!

  12. cyrenic says:

    That was worth it for the user created ones alone. The 5 star rated stuff on level 5 is especially great.

  13. Ian says:

    Ugh, there’s a bunch of them in the 11-20 range I just can’t get close to. I keep getting close to the steps one (14?) with basically a frame and a pile of wheels but I always fall just short. :(

    If I can get these finished I might buy the rest.

  14. Naurgul says:

    I liked this one too, although I’ll have to keep myself from playing too much. Thanks for the heads up, RPS! :)

  15. Phineas Rhyne says:

    I am not smart enough for these people.

  16. Ginger Yellow says:

    Almost all my contraptions end up with roughly the same configuration. I don’t have the right kind of brain for this game. Some of the solutions on Youtube are amazing.

  17. LionsPhil says:

    I hate you for posting this, foul destroyer of free time.

  18. DeliriumWartner says:

    Hurrah, I’m famous… well kinda.

    Such a good game, made genius by the fact that anyone can up and share their own creations via a simple URL. Lets see some of your best/worst RPS crew.

    Del

  19. Radiant says:

    I’ve discovered that I’m a builder of vehicles.
    Vehicles and engines.
    Those gravity contraptions are bananas.

  20. alphaxion says:

    I found that adding a bit of twig to one part of your wheel can give you a great launching mechanism to get over or help climb obsticles!

  21. Ian says:

    Yas!

    Only two left to do of the free stuff. :)

    I dunno how it is for everybody else, but on the trickiest ones what leads to my final solution is often found entirely by accident.

  22. Lightbulb says:

    You see i think there are three ways to approach this game:

    Whatever works:
    http://FantasticContraption.com/?designId=253655

    Crazy clever stuff:
    http://FantasticContraption.com/?designId=253578

    Or go for the optimal solution (this is my design):
    http://FantasticContraption.com/?designId=257813

    But i love the way you can solve things in so many different ways.

  23. Ian says:

    Finished! I might be forced to pay for the extra stuff now.

    Here are my favourite solutions of mine from the first 20 levels.

    http://FantasticContraption.com/?designId=258420
    http://FantasticContraption.com/?designId=258050
    http://FantasticContraption.com/?designId=256864
    http://FantasticContraption.com/?designId=256285 (this one’s simple and takes a while to get going)
    http://FantasticContraption.com/?designId=255341

    I’m happy with how those turned out. :)

  24. Radiant says:

    This is something I like to call…”The Stroker”
    http://FantasticContraption.com/?designId=262364

  25. Radiant says:

    Cullnean I love the way yours throws the ball then falls over and dies; it’s one purpose over with.

  26. Lightbulb says:

    I like this solution. Rather than rely on brute force to push through it mines under the balls:

    http://FantasticContraption.com/?designId=270374

    A slower version but more fun in a way:
    http://FantasticContraption.com/?designId=270533 (it does eventually clear everything which i rather like.)

    I love some of those posted especially Ians. :)

  27. Kanakotka says:

    I find the “cockroach approach” is brutally effective in some levels… i actually crawled my way under the blocks in junkyard with a similar contraption to this : http://FantasticContraption.com/?designId=283964 :)

  28. contenedores de residuos says:

    single plastic pallet is so useful.thanks for your share.
    single plastic pallet

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