Have You Played… Crayon Physics Deluxe?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Look, it’s called Crayon Physics [official site]. You could probably invent the game in your mind knowing just that. Now take some crayons and revert to your childhood self. Not too much! Oh, well, you’ve done it now. There’s no way you’ll handle 70 levels of physics puzzles like this.

Then again, maybe you could. Crayon Physics is a light game, easy-going both in presentation and in form. As a puzzle game it is uncluttered, straightforward and just joyful enough to be cute without veering into the territory that gets indie games described as “charming” [spits]. I will not call this one charming but it is strangely relaxing. There’s a reason it won the Seamus McNally prize at the IGF.

As a puzzle game it is also built for idiots like me. There are no numbers, no strained chains of questionable logic. You just draw wee shapes and move things about. It’s the game I imagine Gordon Freeman played before his parents enrolled him in the military-funded primary school for rich supernerds that he obviously attended and cheated his way through. That’s why he still loves see-saw puzzles.


  1. Howling Techie says:

    Gosh this must have been one of the first indie PC games I remember playing back when I used to visit fun-motion. It would have been this, tower of goo, and gish if memory serves. It makes me wonder if I would have stuck with PC gaming if 12 year old me didn’t find all these indie gems 10 years ago.

    • Manburger says:

      Heck yeah fun-motion! :D I have some fond memories of that burgeoning era of indies as well. (How ’bout that Armadillo Run?)

      The first game I bought (or uh, got my dad to buy me) digitally was Lugaru, which was featured there. Presumably because of the rad ragdolls physics. (Loved that game!)

      Regarding Crayon Physics: Yes, legitimately lovely! A appropriately serene atmosphere. (I can recall <a href="link to youtube.com ethereal track perfectly)

    • Syrion says:

      Oh man, fun-motion! Lugaru, Bridge Builder, Armadillo Run, Off-Road Velociraptor Safari! Those were the days!

      And Gymnast! Does anyone remember that game? What an amazing time I had with that, so hard to get to grips with it.

  2. Lacessit says:

    I played it briefly a few years ago. It was completely lovely.

    • Scott says:

      ‘Lovely’ is what I came to post too. Really charming game.

  3. Syrion says:

    After Half-Life’s gravity gun this was one of the more amazing showcases of what could be done with physics in games. Creating an object in any shape you like out of thin air? Mindblowing!
    I think I was too cheap for it, liked the demo, played some of the myriad of clones that suddenly appeared everywhere, including one that was a total rip-off with inferior mechanics, and by the time I did get Crayon Physics Deluxe years later it seemed so… barebones. Boring. Man, time flies so fast.

  4. Spacewalk says:

    This was part of one of the first Bundles I bought. There was a point where I stopped worrying about finding the solution to the puzzles and just drew a bunch of stuff for the hell of it. You could even draw on the map! It was like being a kid again.

  5. Massenstein says:

    This was one of the first indie games I ever bought. Damn, I should give it ago some time soon. I think it will forever be a very great relaxing game and also something you can let toddlers play. That graphical style isn’t going to get old.

    Besiege reminded me in many ways of Crayon Physics Deluxe, in how most levels can be beaten super easily but the real fun is trying to come up with imaginative solutions.

  6. Titler says:

    Not only was Crayon Physics lovely, it was educational too. I used at a daycentre I used to volunteer at to show the elderly how to handle the mouse; its relaxed atmosphere and child-like joy was the perfect way to guide them without making them feel under pressure or confused, and the tutorial seemed to be ideally paced as well…

  7. Havalynii says:

    Anyone tried it with a Surface tablet + stylus? That could be a lot of fun.

    • Premium User Badge

      particlese says:

      I played it on a screenless graphics tablet back when it came out, and it was pretty great, yeah. And I can imagine it’d be even better on something more direct.