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Chain Reaction

Published by Monster Studios
Price $19.95
Primary Genre Secondary Genre

Okay, start the reaction... now the ball hits the switch on the torch which lights the candle which boils the kettle which sets off the other ball which rolls down the slope, closing the scissors that cut the rope holding the balloon which floats up, gets blown across by the fan, hits the lever under the platform that holds the wrecking ball which knocks over the skittle that sets off the monster cage that drives the belt that moves the shuttlecock that triggers the boxing glove...

Mad inventions in the House of Bamboo... MC Monster ready for take-off!

The paragraph you've just read (or maybe just skimmed, it is rather long) is a chain reaction. If you've ever seen or played "The Incredible Machine", you'll recognise how this can all fit together. Chain Reaction is the follow up to T.I.M. after two and a half years in development. It is a testament to how simple things can become very complex. And fun.

Your mission in Chain Reaction is simple - you are to use any items at your disposal to get MC Monster (in his rocket ship) onto the landing pad. Some items are fixed, others can be moved to wherever you see fit. Arrange them all so that they interact properly and get MC home. If you grow bored with the standard puzzles, there's an editor that allows you to construct new ones.

There are a LOT of objects in this game. Messing around in the puzzle editor.

I love the graphics for this game. A variety of room backgrounds and a myriad of objects all give a warped, disproportionate look that makes me think of Tom and Jerry cartoons. This is rather appropriate given some of the more bizarre items, such as the timed boxing glove and the monster in a cage. You can also zoom in and out and look at the puzzle from any angle - unlike its predecessor, Chain Reaction is 3D!

Some cheery background music is accompanied by a range of sound effects. I particularly like the BOING that the boxing glove makes, though a series of exploding packs of dynamite is more impressive. Almost everything makes a noise. Best of all, there are options to adjust the volume for both music and sound effects, something that many games have forgotten.

It is difficult to fault Chain Reaction, though I have noticed it closing down completely on me on occasions when leaving the editor. I did have trouble getting the positioning right on the objects, though, often rotating something when I tried to move it or vice versa. The zoom mode, however, can deal with most of these problems.

Overall this is a fresh and involving game, with a variety of puzzles and objects to experiment with. In particular the 'real world' physics used on the ropes, etc show the attention to detail that has been taken. Have a go and get inventing!

Graphics 90%
Sound 85%
Playability 80%
Longevity 85%
Overall Score 88%
Silver Star

Published on 19 Sep 2003
Reviewed by Andrew Williams

Keywords: chain reaction review, monster studios reviews, monster studios games, chain reaction scores, pc game reviews, indie game reviews, independent gaming.