If you're a seasoned, old-school Mac gamer, there's a good chance you remember a funky puzzle game called The Incredible Machine. In the game, players had to perform simple tasks by building overly complex Rube Goldberg devices and experimenting with how each piece functioned through trial and error. The game spawned several sequels and even briefly found its way to the App Store. Now, the original team behind The Incredible Machine has evolved the concept with Contraption Maker, just released for OS X.
Like its much older brother, Contraption Maker is a toolbox for puzzle solving. There's a huge learning curve and you slowly reveal what each of the dozens of balls, platforms, tubes, plugs, and gadgets actually do, but once you've scaled this mountain you'll spend your time constructing machines to complete a specific task.
Each puzzle has a simple end goal, such as feeding a cat or lighting a bomb, but completing that task often requires an insane amount of planning and experimenting. For example, capturing a mouse in a case might be the end goal, but in order to accomplish it you'll need to launch a ball to scare a hamster, which runs on a treadmill that turns a gear and rotates a band, which turns another gear to power a generator, which turns on a light that focuses through a magnifying glass to burn a rope which drops the cage onto the mouse. And that's one of the simpler puzzles.
Contraption Maker also includes a custom puzzle creator, so once you best the game's 140 official puzzles -- which you might never accomplish, to be honest -- you can try your luck at an endless number of community-created puzzles. In short, there's quite literally no end to this game, so prepare for some serious puzzle solving.
Contraption Maker is currently $14.99 on Steam, which is a great price for this amount of content, especially if you're a puzzle fan. Definitely give it a try.