17th March 2011 - What is EA’s Create? A difficult question to answer, but one often described by some less-than-cheerful Internet folk as a ‘Little Big Planet Rip-Off’ and quite often a ‘Trials HD for idiots’. My guess is that they haven’t played the game, because despite what you may hear or think, its absolutely nothing like either of those. Oh no, Create is something entirely different. Something great, yet something terrible. Something new, yet something as aged as thought itself. To sum it up; Create is something unique.
Primarily, Create is a puzzle game, but only by definition; you must - what else? - solve puzzles. But the way the game delivers both the puzzles and the tools to solve them is what sets it apart from the rest. Where most games have you using unique or specified game mechanics to solve your way through the missions, Create relies simply on the most basic of all; physics.
You use basic logic and physics to bypass the games increasingly difficult puzzles as best you can. They range from things like ‘get the box through the hoop’ to ‘Jump over the gap, hit a rocket, making it bust a balloon which drops something which hit’s a toaster which pops toast out and through a teleports and makes another ball roll through the hoop’. And the thing is, that’s not even the most complex thing in the game. Far from it actually, and while something like that may puzzle you at first, by the end of the game, the pure insanity and complexity of the puzzles is infuriatingly well thought.
This is where a lot of people will be turned off. The game is excruciatingly difficult if you wish to gain significant amounts of points and be able to progress areas. But this somewhat ridiculous difficulty is what captured me into the game. Being able to see the results of hours work in creating basic tools and structures and item-chains that work together to solve puzzles with basic logic and physics was highly satisfying, from start to finish. I sat down for hours playing but one or two puzzles over and over trying to find the perfect way to solve them, and while it became unbearably frustrating at times, I was ultimately rewarded with personal gratification. In fact, for a week or so when this was all I played, I found myself looking at every day situations like grocery shopping and making dinner with Create-iv (see what I did there?) eyes, thinking of all the ways I could make that can of soup roll over to the other side of the table with all those plates, forks, toasters and pans. And how I make a small buggy jump the Noodles and run down to the Doritos with one easy chain of items and ramps.
You see, the puzzles in Create are solved by allowing you as much time as you need to place different items you unlock throughout the game down on a track and trying to accomplish an objective. A press of Start makes the pause world come to life, and physics and gravity kick in, resulting in you getting to watch what is most probably a sloppy mess. Retry as many times as you want until what you’re left with is a perfectly designed picture to be proud of.
It’s a shame EA didn’t as much thought as the puzzles had into the controls and interface though, as while simple, there is so much stuff to be played with that the Menu’s and Cursor controls are often sticky and tricky, easily confusing less you take longer than needed to navigate it all at a wheelchair-up-a-stairset pace. See?! Its so bad it had me making bad-taste jokes and even wishing I was playing it on the Computer (hey, those two usually come in one package anyway) - which is obviously the way EA envisioned it played.
I like to see a game brightening it up a little, with some pretty colours and enough life to make me forget how the world really operates when I go outside or watch the news. But while Create is a visual happy-place that could even put a smile on Kristen Stewarts vamp-loving mug, it fails to deliver a sense of individuality. It’s a big thing to ask for a game like this that gives you a few handfuls of totally unique areas, complete with unique items, to have its own personality, but the way the gameplay is delivered, one cannot help but feel that some sort of individuality is required in art style of graphics, rather than just ‘bright this, bright that, with an extra helping of brightness.’
Models and environments are all very simple, too. It fits with the gameplay quite well, helping inspire thought and creativity through the simplicity. Its more part of the designers choice of gameplay items though, things that are either too complex to be altered, or so basic they almost require tampering and chaining.
Very effective for a time, but soon infuriating - that’s the only way to write up Create’s sound in one sentence. It would all go down as well as a spoon of sugar if it wasn’t for how long some of the puzzles take and how long some of your sessions of the game will be, but the far-too-cheerful tunes and anthems that each unique game world spits out at you will eventually have you pulling your hair out. Solution; play some of your favourite tunes from the Xbox Guide, as no mater what you have on there, its bound to be better to hear on repeat than these songs.
I’ve gotten more hours out of this game than I have some big AAA titles. And I still have puzzles to solve and more to perfect. It can become too much in large slices, but ration it out and you will playing Create for months to come. And all at a bargain price of 80*. Before release, I though this was going to be a somewhat short XBLA title, but I have since been proven wrong and given good reason for it being a retail title. Be warned though, a lot of gamers wont get much out of this game - it really should only be indulged by those with Tiger Blood and who actually want a brain workout and aren’t afraid to have their manhood tested on some of the later challenges.
*Note: I found it impossible to find in-store, but you can pick it up HERE for half RRP at a stunning $40! No advertising - Im just amazed at this deal!
EA’s Create is like nothing you’ve ever played before. It’s uniqueness and simplicity is both what fails it and what helps it stand out from, well, everything. Whether or not it’s succeeds at winning you over is a complete matter of opinion, given how dividing its gameplay and nature are, but Create is one game this reviewer see’s as more than simply a game; it’s a piece or art and inspires more creativity and thought than anything else ive ever played. A genius idea, well executed, Create is as simple and complex as they come, often at the same time.
AAG SCORE: 7/10
+ Simple and effective
+ Very creative and thought provoking
+ Some extremely challenging puzzles..
-… Seriously, very challenging.
- Frustrating control scheme
- Those damned tunes!
Reviewed and Written By John Elliott