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For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad

Too light to carry weight

Product: SimplePhysics | Developer: Jundroo | Publisher: Jundroo | Format: iPhone | Genre: Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.2
SimplePhysics iPhone, thumbnail 1
Without the additional window dressing of cute and quirky characters, no-nonsense physics puzzlers aren't the most exciting games on the App Store.

It's not exactly a thrill being tasked with constructing a roof capable of holding the weight of a week's worth of solid snow.

But to its credit, boredom isn't an issue in SimplePhysics. The problem with SimplePhysics is that it feels half-baked.

Short and sharp

For instance, there are only five levels. Each one requires you to use planks of wood either to support existing structures or to create new ones.

The process of doing so is easy. You place each plank by swiping a finger across the screen. Each one must be connected to an existing node rather than placed wherever you choose. For instance, one level requires you to build a tree house - you start from scratch, but there are nodes on the tree.

Also, each plank can only be stretched out a certain length, forcing you to create interlocking designs rather than vertical monstrosities. You can delete rogue planks by activating the appropriate mode and rubbing them out like you would pencil marks with a rubber.

There's a purpose to all the engineering involved, of course. Using as little material as possible (every plank you create sapping up dollars), your final design has to withstand a set of conditions in order to pass muster.

Windy city

For example, when stiffening up a tower block, your creation has to withstand winds touching 170mph in order to be branded as safe. A tree house, on the other hand, has to hold four children for 15 seconds to be chalked up as a success.

This is where the problems lie. While the tree house – which acts as a tutorial – is as simple as it is logical, some of the other tasks appear to come equipped with a particularly dodgy take on physics.

It's very easy after a few failed attempts to assume that it's you in the wrong – that you haven't got a grasp on how structure works. However, after every conceivable design consistently falls apart under strain you start to wonder whether the game's physics are entirely accurate.

Trying time

Pinning down just what's wrong is not easy. The game's quirky take on physics is perhaps best signified by the fact that you often find success to be random.

Drawing out any old design will enjoy more success than a design approached methodically. One of my later attempts to hold up a snowy roof somehow survived the wintry onslaught, even though said design was akin to a random scribble rather than anything of substance.

Add to this the shortness of the game and you have a challenge that feels too haphazard to withstand the weight of scrutiny.
Reviewer photo
Keith Andrew | 7 April 2011
Too short to stand the test of time and too random for a physics sim, SimplePhysic has a neat idea that lacks the strength to do its job
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