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 65 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
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
I suppose everyone out there must have seen an episode of WB's Roadrunner cartoon show. Remember when the Coyote would hatch an extremely overcomplicated plan requiring all sorts of different elements to work together precisely just to accomplish some idiotic thing like dropping a boulder on the poor Roadrunner? Well THAT's "The Incredible Machine".
Designed as a puzzle game, The Incredible Machine's premise revolves around a single player campaign of sorts that presents you with different scenarios whose objectives include popping a balloon, firing a cannon, catching a runaway mouse, etc. all of these seemingly simple exercises in physics have to be accomplished using the same assorted collection of items the Coyote used and which includes pulleys, ropes, rifles, bowling balls, trampolines, mice, tennis balls, jack-in-a-boxes, gears, etc. etc.
While the game is played on a single 2D plane, physic concepts such as acceleration, gravity, momentum and friction are applied, and I might add that they are also exceptionally simulated and executed, making it pretty hard to "cheat" the computer into doing impossible things (though it's still possible in some cases). The seemingly simple objectives progressively develop into brain-melting challenges that have you juggling said concepts and at the same time trying to make them work with the odd cartoony array of objects the game gives you. Fortunately a stellar learning curve takes you through the basics step by step and slowly but evenly increases the difficulty as you go along.
The interface is simply fantastic, making the game comfortably playable to this day, as a simple drag'n drop is all it takes to select each item and placing it where you want it to be, or link them via ropes and similar objects. Several clearly defined controls allow you to rotate their orientation and the colorful graphics and clearly defined gameplay areas mean even a toddler will be playing in no time with it. This simplicity in gameplay and the previously mentioned excellent learning curve are primordial elements of the Incredible Machine's success, proving once again that saying that says that the great games take little time to learn but a lifetime to master. The incredible's Machine gameplay is simple, yet challenging but most of all it's incredibly fun.
Of course, considering you can get stuck pretty easily in these types of puzzle games, and as an excellent addition value-wise, the developers added a freeform construction module that far from being a difficult to learn sub-program lost in the game's directory, is integrated in the main menu and via a set of simple controls gives you full control not only over the collection of fixed and usable objects the game offers, but also the amount of gravity, wind strength and direction and everything you need to make your own little cartoon physics lab.
That plain background sure got boring after a while.... A more comprehensive hint system would also have been greatly appreciated.
And it might leave some nasty side-effects such as making you believe you can turn off the lights in your room by throwing a bowling ball at the switch.
The Bottom Line
Is it edutainment? Is it simply a puzzle-game? I don't know, all I know is that The Incredible Machine is an exceptionally amusing videogaming classic, offering lots of great and rewarding gameplay in a simple yet extremely well-developed environment for you to toy around with.
A must for everyone, specially parents that want to give kids a mildly educational title that also is actually fun to play for the entire family as you all try to figure out the solutions to a tricky puzzle.
DOS · by Zovni (10502) · 2004
|No Mac version||Terok Nor (37371)||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
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by elron.
Game added October 12th, 2000. Last modified October 2nd, 2023.