CREATE review

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Old 13-Jan-2011
CREATE review

What's in a name? In the case of Create, it's misdirection. While the Create's name implies that players will actually get to make things, you're actually solving challenges and then decorating static levels with a series of objects and stickers and designs that the game provides you.

Create is set up as a series of themed levels, each with a batch of Create Challenges and Create Chains to complete. Challenges present a problem (for example, get this truck to a point across a chasm), which you'll need to solve with the components at hand. Sometimes you're asked to build a long crazy contraption, while other challenges ask you to use as few pieces as possible. Create Chains are basically decorating challenges -- you're guided to color in portions of the world, place objects, post stickers, and decorate the background with a variety of objects. Successfully completing Challenges and Chains unlocks new objects to use in future Challenges and Chains, and also rewards you with Sparks, which are then used to unlock new levels.

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There are 14 different levels with 10 Challenges and five Chains apiece, so there's plenty to do here. The Chains don't take much critical thought to complete -- they're kind of paint-by-numbers -- but Challenges require you to put on your thinking cap. Though the early levels are pretty simple to zip through, it'll require a decent amount of experimentation later on before you hit on a solution that works. It's not a multiplayer game, but Create works well as a group activity, with other people in the room offering suggestions.

However, for something that looks like it's targeted at a younger crowd, Create is a bit of an exercise in frustration. Using a keyboard and mouse works better than the control schemes on the console versions, but it's still not a very intuitive setup. Even when you've figured out what you need to do, many of the challenges require some nitpicky tweaking to actually make that solution work. The game camera can also be problematic, often not letting you zoom back far enough to get a full view of a level or challenge.

Still, Create's biggest problem is that in the wake of many mainstream-accessible games with incredibly robust editors, including EA's own Sims and Spore franchises, Create feels limiting. You don't get to build or edit anything -- you're merely decorating an existing space or building a solution from a preselected set of tools. The lack of any in-game characters also makes it feel a bit soulless -- what fun is it to fill a world with stuff if you don't actually get to watch anyone or anything interact with it?

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