|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Most Wanted Entertainment||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Midway||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 21, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
A second mode, which focuses on drawing challenges, oddly channels the spirits of Kirby: Canvas Curse and Portal. These levels also present you with incomplete puzzles, but instead of using a select number of pre-determined items to solve them, you must find the solution by free-hand drawing lines to form ramps and barriers and circles to create portals for moving objects through space. The two options for playing Mechanic Master are enjoyable in their own way. Theyre similar, though each requires slightly different strategies and thought processes to persevere.
If you tire of playing through the 100+ puzzles in the game, a full-featured level building toolkit allows you to create your own elaborate Rube Goldberg masterpieces. This can become a substantial distraction by itself. Levels youve made can be shared wirelessly, and there are quite a few slots to save your crazy creations to. The building design interface works a lot like the main play mode, as it lets you drag-and-drop any of the many unusual elements found throughout the game. You can scroll through menus sorted by item type. This provides a lot of freedom to come up with some truly unique levels.
Mechanic Masters presentation is disappointingly sparse. The upper screen serves as a map, offering a small view of the entire board. Its dull and empty, save for the diminutive elements laid out across the level. Despite that, its helpful when experimenting, since it shows all of the action on one screen as it unfolds. The touch screen provides a closer view that can be scrolled around with the D-pad. All of the stylus interaction works smoothly, but graphically, things dont look much better zoomed-in. All of the sprites are mildly generic-looking, and the visuals tend to underwhelm overall. On the other hand, the decision to hold back on dropping tons of detail into every area of the game works; later levels can get rather busy with all the different elements in play. However, that shouldnt be an excuse to skimp on what there is to see.
With tons of levels, several different ways to play, lots of interactive little items and gadgets to utilize, and a gameplay design that feels creative and rewarding, Mechanic Master rises above being just a copycat. A few more layers of polish, a little more originality, and an interesting story with some substance would make it a much better game. Regardless, it boils down to a good puzzle experience with gameplay thats strong enough to carry the weight.
CCC Staff Contributor