Crayon Physics Deluxe (CPD) is a single player physics puzzle game with focus in drawing simple objects to solve challenges. CPD is available for both regular mobile, mobile-note devices with pens as well as both mouse and tablet based PC platform while this review is on the PC with a mouse. In CDP the player uses his pointing device to draw various simple crayon objects to help pass a ball all the way through the level to the star which is the end goal of the level. When the star is collected, a new path opens in the maps screen to new levels.
In CPD Everything is done by drawing, and by moving the ball. Left-click pushes the ball right and right-click pushes it left. No other mechanics are presented and therefore no other actions are needed, making the game extremely simple as well as easy to approach. The low difficulty level is part of the design paradigm as well which sits in perfectly with the childlike aesthetics and overall soft and calm mood of the game. While the game’s specialty is the support for more accurate drawing devices such as tablets it works just perfectly with a regular mouse. There is no need for a separate tutorial as instructions written in the same crayon style as all other graphics are spread across the game world.
Many of the levels require just one line to be drawn or are otherwise extremely easy. This, however, is not an obstacle in creating the feeling of success since the overall mood of the game instantly awake your inner child and personal challenge levels will fixate accordingly. Some of the more advanced mechanics and object behaviors which appear regularly on the later levels are however not properly introduced and require trial and error to even understand how they work. This is perhaps the only clear flaw of the game especially when considering the open for all attitude the game so clearly, expresses.
CPD is one of the early hits of the Finnish digital games’ indie scene. It is also a highly original and hard to categorize in traditional ways. The compelling soft mood is created by the simple mechanics but enhanced greatly by the calm and mesmerizing ambient soundtrack. These factors make the game an experience hard to forget, even when the challenge we normally go to in digital games is almost completely absent. After the release of CDP, there have since been other games taking advantage of the same idea such as Max and the magic marker but CPD was the first one to create the entire game around this idea and taking full advantage of it.
Platform: Windows, iOS, Mac OS X, Linux, Android
Original Release date: January 7, 2009
Developer: Petri Purho / Kloonigames
Designer: Petri Purho / Kloonigames
Common Sense Media Age Rating: 8+