Honestly, this is probably one of the most brilliant apps for kids I’ve ever seen. Sure, Plants Vs. Zombies is great fun and Angry Birds is an addictive phenomenon. However, my five year old Titus and I love solving the open-ended puzzles of Casey’s Contraptions.
Casey’s Contraptions is a little boy’s dream come true. It’s a digital Rube Goldberg Machine. You know, the same reason we loved the game Mousetrap when we were kids. The boot kicks the bowling ball, which caused the chicken to lay the egg, which cased the dart to pop the balloon which cased the door to open. I remember as a young boy trying to create these complet machines out of cardboard, strings and random toys, all started by opening the door to my room. Casey’s Contraptions is the perfect environment, because you have access to all these objects and a world where gravity, friction and all the other laws of physics mimic the real world.
The game has hundreds of levels where you are given certain objects in order to accomplish a goal, like get the cardboard box to fall in the basket. You have darts, slingshots, tennis balls, bowling balls, adjustable shelves and scores of other items at your disposal. My favorite part of this game is that there isn’t just one way to win. Usually you have enough objects to be creative, any anyone can achieve the success with their own tactics, yet winning is still a challenge.
I really don’t love how much time Titus can spend on the iPad. He loves it and less screen time is better than too much. However, I really enjoy watching him play this game. I see the wheels turning in his little head and I’m amazed at some of the solutions that he comes up with. Does every dad think his kid is going to be an engineer?
This app is great because it inspires “out of the box” problem solving skills. At any point too, players can create their own puzzles for others to solve making this game limitless. There is also a free play area where you have access to every item and you can experiment with how all the objects interact with each other.
If you have an iPad and kids, Casey’s Contraptions is a must have!
* Oops, just learned something new. Rovio, the people behind Angry Birds actually bought Casey’s Contraptions and have renamed it to “Amazing Alex.” So, you can download it from the App store here, both for iPad and iPhone. Since Rovio owns it, you can probably expect a long and frequently updated player experience. Good stuff!