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Master of Alchemy

For: iPhone

It’s all about the chemistry

Product: Master of Alchemy | Developer: Darkwave Games | Publisher: Chillingo | Format: iPhone | Genre: Puzzle | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Master of Alchemy iPhone, thumbnail 1
Like a conjurer hiding his simple trick behind showmanship and a layer of complex mystical jargon, Master of Alchemy disguises a straightforward physics-based puzzler behind a nice art style and some highfalutin pseudo-scientific babble.

Yet, knowledge of this deception doesn’t lessen the value of the experience much. As long as you watch carefully, you’re able to appreciate the artistry that’s gone into its creation.

Hocus pocus

The game casts you as an apprentice alchemist in a steam-punk fantasy world, where mysticism and science are inextricably bound together.

While each level is preceded by flowery talk about the art of transforming gases, liquids and solids, this is far from a chemistry lesson. Rather, it’s a simple droplet-diversion game in the vein of Enigmo.

You must divert various streams of coloured droplets into their corresponding receptacles by changing their direction and properties. You have a limited array of instruments that, for example, can turn liquid droplets into gas droplets, sending them floating upwards.

Before long you have multiple coloured droplets intersecting each other, which must be steered towards their appropriate receptacles without “contaminating” one another.

Smoke and mirrors

Like Enigmo, this is a rewarding process, but Master of Alchemy at times feels convoluted. There are too many unnecessary elements (if you’ll excuse the pun) crammed into the game and the alchemy theme is used a little too heavily for its own good, serving to cloud over even the most simple of gameplay mechanics.

It’s also a little irritating how quickly you slip down the level completion rankings. Droplets quickly bleed out of each level before you’ve even had a chance to look around and formulate a plan. As such, you find yourself restarting nearly every level, using the first run to look around (while annoyingly being notified as each rank slips away).

Still, Master of Alchemy is a fine puzzler with a compelling fiction and an atmospheric steam-punk universe. It just needs to cut back a little on the smoke and mirrors, as it tends to distract from the solid game underneath it all.
Master of Alchemy
Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy | 16 August 2010
Master of Alchemy is a fine physics-based puzzler set in an entertaining universe, but it’s contaminated by a few unnecessary embellishments
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