Mechanic Master - Review

Mechanic Master
Ages: Everyone

Shades of Rube Goldberg! Midway has produced a delightful diversion for the DS. If you watch the intro screen, you will get the slender back story - the earth has been invaded by aliens and imprisioned many earthlings in little cages with what look like electrified bars.

You are presented with a scene with one or more alies and possibly some earthlings, and you have to liberate any earthlings and get rid of the aliens. What you see is a construction in the air, which may contain solid surfaces, weights hanging from baloons, little conveyor belts, rotatable wheels, and so forth (over 50 different objects). Place the ball so that it drops on the scissors, which cuts the cord holding the weight, which then drops on the little motor, which starts up the conveyor belt, pushing another ball onto a spray can which blows the alien off its perch. There are "over 100 levels" of these little puzzles.

You work on the touch screen, which shows a magnified view of part of the entire tableau depicted on the top screen. Some of the objects are already in place. In Drawing Mode you get some more objects to place (they are in the bottom area of the screen), then press the play button and see what happens. Since gravity and momentum work, things that you place in mid-air will drop, and may bounce off of slanted objects to move sideways. Baloons will fly up. Little motorized things may move or fly, depending on their characteristics. If you have not placed any of the placable objects, usually nothing will happen. Place one of the objects and run it again - you can do this over and over until you satisfy the objective. Although you are encouraged to do all of this in the quickest time possible, all that this does is to record your best time for each level. If competition is not your thing, just relax - you can take as long as you want to work things out!

The second mode, Drawing Mode also presents you with a pre-arranged setup, but instead of a (limited) menu of objects to place, you get to draw lines and portals. The lines behave as hard surfaces, so that moving objects will move along them, and you can bridge gaps or create ramps for things to follow. If you draw a circle, you will get a pair of portals - and anything falling into the green portal will emerge from the blue one while preserving momentum - use this to get moving objects to otherwise inaccessable locations, so as to free any earthlings and vanquish the aliens.

The last mode Custom Mode, is a "create your own level" mode, with over 100 slots, and you can use the wireless feature of the DS to share these with another Mechanic Master player (both of you must have the game cartridge). The game has room for 3 player profiles. The on-screen help is pretty good - hold your stylus on any object and an explanation of what it does and how it works will appear on the top screen. The explanations and instructions could use a little more work, though. It did take me a while to discover how to get objects into the 'available' slot in the Custom Mode - just unlock them. When you go to the RUN phase, all unlocked objects are in that slot, while the locked ones are fixed on the screen.

The levels vary in difficulty - I solved some in a few seconds, others took many minutes. Stuff your DS in your pocket or purse with this game cartridge and you will be able to survive standing in any line (or waiting for that phone call).

Fun Factor: Amusing, challenging, entertaining
Player Friendly: Once you figure out a few quirks, the on-screen info does the rest.

Reviewed by: Lou - 11/08

  • Mechanic Master
  • © Midway Home Entertainment $29.99
  • Platform(s): GBDS
  • To Order: GBDS $29.99
  • Game Site: