Chain Reaction


posted 12/22/2002 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: PC
Before you read this review ask yourself these questions:

1. Do I like puzzle games?

2. Do I remember The Incredible Machine?

3. Do I remember The Incredible Toon Machine?

4. Do I like games that actually make me think?

5. Is Jeff Tunnell my god?

6. Do I like to get a whole lot of game for my buck?

If you said yes to at least four of the six questions, then you’ll definitely want to check out Chain Reaction, a puzzle game built from the same vane as The Incredible Machine, but there’s a twist, it’s better, a whole lot better.

In case you’re not familiar with the now defunct Dynamix franchise, TIM required you to accomplish a goal with a set of odd contraptions and devices. You were given a bunch of objects, such as magnifying glasses and candles, and were ordered to set a contraption into motion. Yes it sounds very simplistic but that was the beauty of the game, it was simple yet engaging and in the end, it was highly addictive. Now take that formula, inject some new puzzles to it, update the visuals a bit and you have an entirely new game that is as every bit as addicting as TIM.

So you can score a headshot on a moving opponent with your sniper rifle, so you can pull off 15 hit combos in your fighting games. Well who cares, all of that doesn’t matter in the world of Chain Reaction. There’s no time limit or lightening quick input required, just a bunch of random pieces. It’s then up to you to figure out how everything meshes together and operates and for the most part, it comes together beautifully.

While the operation of some devices may not be immediately apparent to some gamers, it all makes sense in due time. For instance, if you needed to light a candle you could set up a flashlight and magnifying glass that is pointed at the wick. Everything in the world makes sense for the most part and thus can easily be related to in the real world. It’s all very hard to explain and while the game may be overwhelming at first, it quickly becomes simple and intuitive.
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