Kids solve 90 puzzles filled with wheels, gears, pulleys, racks and pinions, chains, and rods that start out easy and get progressively harder. The goal of each puzzle is the same: figure out a way to harness the movement of a spinning gear to pull a sliding door over the current puzzle, so as to reveal the next one. In solving the Crazy Gears puzzles, kids learn about motion, tension, and gravity.
How to Play
The gears and gizmos that appear on the screen invite exploration with their bright colors and spinning properties. With the consistent goal of figuring out a way to use the items on the screen to create a machine that can pull the door closed, kids immediately jump in to experiment. What if I connect this gear rod to this spinning gear? What happens if I interconnect a series of gears to the one that is spinning?
With impressively realistic movements of the gears and chains on the screen, kids feel as if they are building real machines to accomplish the puzzle's goal. As the puzzles get harder, kids almost feel the tension on the chain as it strains to pull the sliding door. This hands-on app provides an on-ramp for kids to learn about engineering principles.
However, Crazy Gears has a few design issues that can be frustrating. There is no reset button; so when your chains and gears become jumbled, you can't just restart. Rather you have to painstakingly figure out how to separate each part. Also, there is no way to jump to a specific puzzle. You must play them through in order, and you have no way to revisit a previously completed puzzle. We also noticed a sameness to the puzzles, which eventually makes them less exciting. The best puzzle design will constantly add new elements to keep the player engaged. Even with these design flaws, Crazy Gears is worth exploring because it does such a good job of providing hands-on learning.
is a good fit for kids who like to tinker. Its digital manipulatives will appeal to kids who like to build things. Bonus Tip
: For another app that invites kids to explore science topics in a puzzle format, check out Thinkrolls 2
. And visit our rec list: Engaging Engineering Apps for Kids
. This Crazy Gears app review was written by Jinny Gudmundsen.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.