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'Professor Fizzwizzle' Review (PC)


Is there anything more rewarding and yet frustrating than a good puzzle? To sit and dwell on something, and think over and over about how to do something, only to be foiled time and time again. And then that "Ah ha" moment comes along and suddenly all that time spent toiling away makes it all seem worth it. Say hello to Professor Fizzwizzle.

You play as (can you guess?) Professor Fizzwizzle, who created a bunch of robots to help him around the lab, but the only problem is instead of shutting them off that night, he accidentally sent them into a rage, and now he needs to get back to his lab so he can shut them down. Really, the story doesn't play a factor whatsoever, because you are really only coming for the puzzles; it is basically just there to tie the idea of the gameplay together. So since that is all I have to say about that…next!

The game is completely old school 2D flat backgrounds with slightly round 2.5D characters and environments. The hovering levels typically consists of various ground types, ladders, and other such environment hazards. As you begin a level, you'll see that positioned somewhere on the level is a warp pad, which will take you to the next level, indicating that you have successfully completed that level in question; the problem comes in that you can't easily make it from one point to the next. Standing in your way are boxes you must push to specific locations, barrels you must roll, powerups you must utilize – you name it.

You'd think pushing a box would be easy, but it all depends on the ground type – boxes slide easily across grass, and move by themselves on ice, but they stop once you hit sand, only able to easily glide if you freeze them with a powerup. The game is really all about positioning, as you'll need to use boxes to climb to new heights, bounce barrels off trampolines to place them so you can roll on top of them to an overhanging ladder, etc. You've also got magnets that come into play, such as using their repelling factor to either push them onto switches you need to use to open up gates impeding your progress, or even using their attractive principles to make a stepping stone that hovers over empty space, because the land it attaches to is a metal girder.

Some of the levels are extremely easy, where you'll complete it on one try, while others will take you multiple tries just to even put a dent into them. Controls are easy with the arrow keys doing most of the work for the more precise and pinpoint accuracy, though you can move the Professor around by left clicking to a place you want him to run (it is a more difficult time to control, but if you are lazy, nothing beats playing a game with one hand). Levels typically only take less than a minute to fully complete, but that is only after you know each and every move, but the time it takes up to that minute can be only several to up to a good hour depending on how long it takes for that puzzle to click with you.

The puzzles come in four varieties: Regular, Advanced, Kids, and Alphabet. The Regular levels are like the normal difficulty of a game, as you'll experience everything the game has to offer, but everything should be doable after you put enough thought and time into any given level puzzle. The Advanced levels are a little more time consuming, requiring more thought and concentration than the Regular levels. As for the Kids and Alphabet levels, they are aimed more towards the younger puzzle solvers out there, as these levels are really easy compared to the others, and have cute little levels designed like objects, such as trains or letter themed levels like an apple for A and cat for C (the levels are actually designed to look like these objects).

One of the coolest features about the game, should you not be able to figure out a level, is you can apply to Solution through the game menu (where you can also incidentally easily restart the level from the beginning with the quick click of a button) so you can either see what you might be doing wrong or in the extreme case have the game fully complete the level for you, which allows you to then move on to the next level. Yes, it is a cheat applied to the game, but some of these puzzles are tough, and allowing the player to move on should they run into a mental roadblock is great design by the developers.

The game also features a level editor, which allows you to create levels and exchange them, testing the mental prowess of people across the world. It is a pretty powerful tool set in the gameplay mechanics, as you have all the parts you'd need to create some really dastardly hard levels.

Simple in complexity, but they have a cheerful cartoon quality about them, and the Professor himself is animated rather nicely, as he moves fluidly whether he is running, slipping on ice, or flailing like crazy falling from a great height.

Much like the graphics, the sound work of the game is simple too, with light and fun pops and mechanical grinds making up the bulk of the noise, while the same looping music track plays over every level (it will burrow deep inside your head with its relentlessness and make you want to put on the radio or a CD of your choice).

If you hate puzzles stay far away from this game, because though it starts out easy, you'll spend quite a bit of time studying these levels, trying to discern the path you must take to complete it. If you love puzzles, however, you'll find a lot to like about Professor Fizzwizzle. Sure, the graphics and sound aren't too much to write home about, but they convey nicely what you are there to do, which is rack your brain over some tasty teasers.

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