Once upon a time, I, like many others, did very little from day to day apart from play tonnes of browser-based Flash games. And of all the games I played during this fascinating period of my childhood, I didn’t expect a simple little physics-based puzzle game to have imparted some of the fondest and longest-lasting memories. If you’ve played Fantastic Contraption, I’m sure you feel the same way. It seems to have that effect.
It’s such an easy game to get into. The aim of each level is simple: transport the red shape from the start area to the goal area. You do this by creating contraptions to haul, fling, or otherwise encourage said red shape to its destination. And you only have five very simple components with which to make these contraptions. There are clockwise and anti-clockwise wheels, which if connected by their centre node will constantly turn in the specified direction. There are un-powered wheels, which only roll if they’re pushed by something else. Finally there are two types of rods (water and wood) which can connect to the various nodes of wheels (and to each other).
Using these components, you can create some pretty spectacular inventions. Each level presents a different obstacle for you to puzzle your way around, from scaling a staircase of smaller shapes to Unpossible (my favourite level of all time), which walls off the goal area so you have to find a way over the top of the entire landscape to get there. But all these obstacles do is force you to consider things from a different perspective and, in doing so, expand your understanding of the game’s possibilities. It makes you feel like a goddamn genius when you finally get things working.
It’s a game that earns its adjective, and if you’ve somehow dodged the opportunity to give Fantastic Contraption a try before now, well, today’s the day you click this link and see what all the fuss is about.