So apparently as of this writing it's Chemistry Week! Awesome! But no matter what week it is, what better way to brush up on all those chemicals and formulas you slept through in high school than with Test Tube Games' new title, Bond Breaker! It's a puzzle game with a healthy dose of educational material woven in, subtly enough that it doesn't lecture you yet deeply enough that's completely fascinating. Control your proton by clicking to guide it through each level, pressing switches, avoiding spikes, and bonding with other particles for a variety of scientifically-accurate effects. There's a wealth of humor on display as well... who knew video game spikes were the proton's natural foe? You won't even notice you're learning. Seriously, why can't textbooks be this fun?
Even if you couldn't care less about science (you poor, poor soul), Bond Breaker still offers a fun puzzling experience. Some of the attracting/repelling effects of the various particles give it an avoidance game flavor at times, and each level throws a new scientific concept at you, which simultaneously educate you and challenge you in new ways. On the downside, there's not too much going on in the art department, and the game goes by pretty quickly. But maybe it's smart that the game doesn't overstay its welcome. Eight scientific lessons with six levels apiece is plenty of science for one session, and there's also a level-creator! It's great seeing a developer who can make something that's both fun and promotes a good cause. And hey, who knows? Maybe some day we can do away with textbooks altogether and just rely on fun, accessible puzzlers like Bond Breaker. We'd never skip homework again.
Sadly it's not actually 48 levels. Only the first few topics have a full 6 levels, with the later ones only having 3 or four. Which is pretty disappointing because things start getting interestingly complex later on, but not enough is done with it. I would have liked this to just be the tutorial before the main level set incorporating all the concepts because there's a really great concept for a puzzle game here. It just isn't fleshed out as much as it could be.
I do like that all the physical interactions are present the whole time, even if a puzzle doesn't call for it. I solved a puzzle using the Van der Waals force before I'd been formally introduced to it.
True, true.. Nevertheless I gave the full 5 stars, simply because difficult to understand fysics principles are made understandable in a nice and playfull way.
I will let my 7 and 12 year old daughters play around, let's see if they can understand it.
I can almost envision this happening in a real lab environment. "Hey John, look at this."
-"That proton is moving so what?"
"No John, look better. Look at the patterns. It even pushes the nano-spheres."
-"But that's not normal. Who does is move so unpredictable? And always on a 2D plane?"
"Don't know John...."