Overall Score 95%
No-one makes mistakes quite like a genius. Professor Fizzwizzle is a short but incredibly brainy (and rather sweet) scientist who is interested in everything - except housework. So one day he built himself some Friend-Bots to do all the boring stuff like sweeping up, polishing flasks and keeping his gadgets organised.
All went very well until he shut down his Bots one particularly late night. He was so tired, he turned the dial on his remote a bit too far, so instead of going from Friend mode to Sleep mode, he set them to Rage mode! As a result they threw him out into the cold, and now he needs your help to get that remote and return them to normal.
Professor Fizzwizzle is quite possibly the best puzzle game I have ever played. Your task is to complete a series of levels, each time your aim being to get from the start teleport to the end teleport. This is hampered by boxes, barrels, magnets, ice, sand, pulleys, trampolines and the occasional Rage-Bot. Fizzwizzle is remarkably athletic and can climb ladders, ride barrels, fall great distances without harm and crawl through narrow passages, but he cannot jump. Then there are the inflatable objects, the cool freeze gun (pun intended!), the colour coded gates and switches and the useful EMP.
There are four sets of puzzles to play in Fizzwizzle, depending on your level of ability. Two of these are firmly aimed at children; a selection of kid's levels (which steadily increase in difficulty but never become too taxing) and the "alphabet" levels. These have to be seen to be believed. On his route home, Fizzwizzle takes time off to investigate (amongst other things) an elephant, Otto the Octopus, the rings of Saturn and Gary the Ghost! The story accompanying each of these levels is wonderful fun and potential practice for children learning to read. The other two paths are more difficult, meant for older players.
The standard levels introduce the various objects and concepts - you should certainly play as many of those as you can before attempting the shortest but nastiest route, as the advanced levels are often solved with some very sneaky tricks! If you get stuck on any level, you can always ask to see the solution, and you can stop this solution at any time and take over.
The graphics are wonderful. Fizzwizzle himself is fantastic - he's very short, but an obvious scientist. If you leave him standing there long enough you can watch him breakdance! All the various game elements are clear and easy to make out. The game is an obvious grid, which hasn't stopped the creators designing some huge pictures out of the various blocks available. The level building blocks themselves are clear and varied - check out the animals frozen in ice for an example of the range here, or the four backdrops. Even the menus are brilliantly animated - I love the slide projector for choosing custom levels!
Then there's the sound - not one but several background tunes for the levels, as well as an upbeat track for the main menu. The sound effects are varied and spot on, with different sounds for everything. Boxes sound different when pushed on ice or sand. Rage-Bots too make a variety of sounds - drop a box on them!
Professor Fizzwizzle is immensely playable and perfectly adjustable. You can alter the game speed if it goes too fast for you, as well as the screen resolution, the volume and more. You can set up "user accounts" for different people, to store their individual progress. You can clear your progress on any of the four routes if you want to start that puzzle set again, or clear the photos you've unlocked. And then, aside from four sets of puzzles, solutions for when you're stuck and useful hints on levels, a choice of controls (keyboard can be easiest) and even a quick level restart by just pressing R, there are the extra features. One is the unlocking of photos, snapshots of Fizzwizzle and his Friend-Bots in various places and situations, at regular intervals along your route to the laboratory. Best of all, there is the essential bonus of a level editor. With one of these you can design and test your own puzzles and your friends can play them too. The only downside to these is not being able to insert your own hints or messages, or your solution.
Fizzwizzle is a high quality game that will keep your children amused for a long time. If you have no children, even better - you'll get to play it all the more often! Every element demonstrates that nothing less than the best will do for Grubby Games. That said, there are a couple of disappointments: The ending to the story is rather brief, so rather a let-down for those younger players looking forward to it. More irritating is that the last level never registers as "complete", so you always end up with something like 98% on that route - and next time you load the game it wants to "finish" that route automatically, so you need to select the route you want to play every time.
These are, however, petty distractions. The only truly bizarre factor is quite why the professor put a "Rage" mode on his remote in the first place! Professor Fizzwizzle should be a permanent fixture on every desktop screen - and it doesn't matter whether you have Windows, Linux or a Mac. Go download it!
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