Developer: Super Mega Maza/Sergey Manucharyan
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★½☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ½☆☆☆☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Take a look at the screenshot below this paragraph. Take a good, long look at it. This is as far as I could manage to go in Crafting Story before I decided that the payoff wasn’t worth the pain. Other readers’ mileages may vary, of course. Then again, there are some who truly enjoy accounting or other tedious, mind-numbing tasks. I’m not here to judge; it takes all kinds to make a world.

Crafting StoryLet me explain. Crafting Story is, ostensibly, the story of a young man who found a trunk in his grandfather’s attic. This trunk contained a globe and, apparently, the basic tools of creation with which he proceeds to use to craft a universe, one step at a time. Whether this is some deep metaphysical metaphor or just a simple conceit tying together a game that might be attempting to be educational doesn’t matter. But what comes next would probably try the patience of even the most caring and benevolent of deities.

Players begin on an empty planet with a few basic elements: water, earth, sunlight – the good stuff. Combining different elements together creates new ones that can then be themselves combined to form even more things – basically like Doodle God with flashier graphics and without the amusing quotes. This can take quite a while, as after a time the combinations become less and less obvious, leaving players trying every available combination in a dull, process-of-elimination style of progression that begins to feel like mindlessly clacking rocks together. Thankfully there are timed refreshes that provide either hints at other as-yet uncreated objects, or flat out show what two objects can combine to make something new. Each new creation fills a meter at the top until everything that can be created has been. At this point players more on to another section, repeating the process with things like animals, people, transportation devices, and so on.

At least, that’s what I assume from the promotional materials.

Crafting StorySee, Transportation is the second hub that unlocks, following Nature (where the game begins). Toward the end of the level, I found myself relying on the hints and help every time they refreshed because combinations started getting obtuse. A scooter and rocket combine to make a paraglider? Sure, I guess that can be a thing. Not what I would have picked, but I didn’t program the game; I just wanted to progress to the next level. However, once I completed everything but the final item that would finish filling the bar, the hint system no longer worked. I don’t know if it was a deliberate choice on the developer’s part or if the game just glitched out. Reloading and restarting didn’t fix it. So now the game was telling me I essentially needed to spend the next… however long slamming 42 different items together, one by one, until I found the right mix to fill that final slot. Either that, or I can pay money or invite Facebook friends in order to unlock another level.

No. Sorry. Not happening.

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