Release Date: November 16, 2010
Publisher: EA
ESRB Rating: Everyone

An important step in the evolution of video games was the introduction of many secret objectives, bonus points, extra quests and various other missions tangential to the main story. Yet even today what you do and see is still seriously hampered by the vision of the game’s creator. There just plain isn’t enough variety.

EA’s Create is aiming to change this. You are the creator. But you’re not creating without a purpose; there are challenges for you to work through. There are 14 differently themed levels with 10 challenges each. Challenges come in two forms: Object Challenges and Contraption-o-matic. The objective challenges involve using as few objects as possible to achieve some goal, such as getting a car over a gap or putting something through a hoop using helium balloons. These are fairly easy and feel somewhat limited because you can only use the objects that they let you use. And you don’t want to use many of them to begin with, so you’re not creating anything too elaborate. The Contraption-o-matic challenges are much more, well, challenging. And you have much more freedom when it comes to using parts. You can build catapults, conveyor belts, elevators, and other strange machines. Some methods will be better than others when it comes to achieving your goal, so don’t get too excited.

As you beat more and more challenges, you will unlock not only objects for use but also other levels that have new objects to use and themes (like an amusement park or a space station). You also have the option to freely decorate each level using any and all of the objects you’ve unlock. This is, unfortunately, the only truly free way to play Create. As far as a puzzle game goes, it’s excellent. There is plenty of critical thinking involved with the later levels. Dozens of attempts become the norm as you get deeper into the game. And, of course, you have more things to use.

But as an innovation, Create is lacking. Yes, you can place objects and textures anywhere you like and make complex machines, but ultimately the list of available objects is not at all up to you. You’re not exactly creating the scene, it’s more like you’re decorating it. And what’s worse is that there is no way of interacting with the environment other than hitting the play button. Create is a step in the right direction, but not a big enough one. While the puzzles are challenging, the graphics are fun, and the music is cheerful, the features are still lacking.

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