The Incredible Machine
Description official descriptions
The Incredible Machine is a puzzle game where the player has to assemble a Rube Goldberg-type contraption to solve a simple puzzle.
The game consists of a series of puzzles, each having a simple objective, such as "put the baseball into the basket" or "turn on the fan". To achieve this, the player is given a number of parts such as: balls, girders, rope, balloons, seesaws, cats or monkeys, and his job is to arrange and connect them on the playfield, so that, upon clicking the "start puzzle" button, the whole contraption activates and achieves the objective.
For added difficulty, some puzzles have different gravity or air pressure from that of Earth.
There is also a freeform mode where the player is given an unlimited number of parts to construct a machine of his own invention. The machines created this way can be saved to disk.
- インクレヂィブル・マシーン - Japanese spelling
Credits (DOS version)
|Manual Production / Design|
|German Project Lead|
|French Project Lead|
Average score: 82% (based on 13 ratings)
Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 64 ratings with 4 reviews)
The great thing about The Incredible Machine is is that it looks so deseptivly easy. This is quite the opposite. In fact, some of the challeges in the game are really, really difficult. The concept is catchy. Even the music is cool, which I hum occacinally. I had actually used this game as a simulation tool for school once.
Well, like a mentioned before, some of the puzzles I just couldn't figure out. Aside from that, there wasn't much I didn't like.
The Bottom Line
If you can find the sharware version, get it. And if you are lucky enough to find the full version to buy, get that, too. This game is too good to pass up, though it seems more like a simulation. It deserves to be in everybody's game collection.
DOS · by Mullet of Death (592) · 2005
First off, such nostalgia going back and playing this old classic... and remembering the countless hours in front of the computer monitor struggling to figure out a difficult puzzle with family and friends. This is a really addictive game, and lots of fun to share with others... you'll all be tossing out your best advice, or just sitting back and admiring the thousands of intricacies incorporated into the game.
And that's perhaps the most amazing feature of the game, its intricacies. While not 100% accurate, the physics are astoundingly complex - the slightest movement of an object can turn the puzzle from unbeatable to solved! Really, I just went through over the last week and played every puzzle, marveling all the way at the ingenious design of each task. Seriously, load the pre-made freeform machine called "Mice". Simply brilliant!
There's so much freedom associated in the game as well... though the goal may be singular, the ways to solve each puzzle are practically infinite - using the tools provided, complete the task by any means necessary. Sure, the designers intend for a certain solution, providing you with just enough of the parts necessary. But, if you can solve it with less, or by taking a shortcut... no problem! Love that freedom.
The learning curve is lessened by the first 21 puzzles being classified as "tutorials", with basically each puzzle introducing a new item or two for you to incorporate into your knowledge.
The ability to play in "freeform mode" is perhaps the most fun aspect of the game, especially once you've achieved the satisfaction of beating all 87 of the pre-made puzzles. Designing your own machine, with access to all the tools and parts, and then demonstrating them for your friends, never loses its enjoyment.
The re-playability is high, because with the exception of the rudimentary tutorial levels, you may struggle with remembering how you went about solving a puzzle previously (or not be able to re-create the rare combination that achieved success prior!). And that's a good thing, the game can continue feeling fresh each time you play. And with Freeform Mode, you can truly play forever...
Even though the player is eased into the "TIM" world by the large amount of tutorial levels, a new player may find it tough to grasp the concept of the game at first. You have to think mechanically, and some people just aren't suited to it... frustration may ensue! But I think most people get hooked once they solve a puzzle or two.
At times, the physics and collision detection fail, but that's probably to be expected in a game this original and of its era. But it can so frustrating to have what you think is the proper solution, only to watch, say, your bowling ball magically disappear through a solid wall! Also, impracticalities like a small fan blowing a mouse across the screen just don't make literal sense. But again, you kind of adjust your reality to the confines and nuances of the game's logic as you get used to it.
One thing I wish the game had was the ability to save and replay your solutions to solved puzzles. The way the game is set up, once you've defeated a puzzle, you have a brief moment to select "Replay" or "Advance". Pressing "Replay" does an instant replay of your solution... but once you hit "Advance", you move on to the next puzzle and your unique solution is now gone from memory forever. Not a critical fault, but something I find lacking.
The Bottom Line
Just a great game, and it really is enjoyable for all ages. I just introduced it over the last week to my girlfriend (26), my sister (10), and my nephew (7), and they all got really into it, straining and struggling to figure out not only the puzzle solutions, but how each piece functioned in the "TIM" world. Even my Grandma (80) recalls playing the game when it was new, and having fun...
DOS · by Condemned (71) · 2009
What I did like about this game was that it has an excellent learning curve. You'll start out with simple mechanisms, then progress up slowly to extremely difficult ones. Some of them are ingenious!
What I didn't like about this game was that it has an ending.
The Bottom Line
Did you ever fantasize about being Wiley Coyote? Here you'll have your chance to experiment with cause and effect type mechanisms. You know... the ball drops and flips the lever, which pulls the rope, which turns on the light, which lights the solar panel, which supplies electricity to the motor...etc. If you want to learn to think - and have fun at the same time, play this game!
DOS · by Darin McCoy (9) · 2003
|No Mac version||Terok Nor (36718)||Aug 9th, 2022|
1001 Video Games
The Incredible Machine appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.
If you were playing the game on Christmas or Valentines Day, you would get a heart shaped balloon (indestructible) or a Christmas tree (rather useless).
- Computer Gaming World
- November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #62 in the “150 Best Games of All Time” list
- September 2006 (Issue #266) – Introduced into the Hall of Fame
Information also contributed by PCGamer77
Related Sites +
- MobyGames ID: 2473
Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history!
Contributors to this Entry
Game added by elron.
Game added October 12th, 2000. Last modified September 24th, 2023.