Way back in the long-forgotten year of 2009, we reviewed a tile-based puzzle game called Electric Box . Since then, the game has maintained a steady following, with user levels constantly being added. Today, the people at Twinkle Star Games have released Electric Box 2, a supercharged sequel that's sure to make people forget all about the original.
The basics of the game haven't changed; the goal is still to get electricity from point A to point B, using every sort of tool imaginable. The items you're given can be grabbed with the mouse and placed anywhere on the grid, but they'll only work if they meet certain requirements. Once everything is in place, turn your contraption on and hope everything unfolds the way you had planned. But with the vast amount tools and possibilities available, it's going to take a lot of tinkering before you can find that perfect set-up.
In addition to the pre-made levels, the level creator is back, giving players an option to flex their own creative muscles. Levels can be saved and returned to later, and the process for sharing your work has been considerably streamlined, with a user-level browser, as well as seamless Facebook and Twitter sharing. The levels can also be placed into certain categories, so you can always find new content to fit your mood, whether you want a challenge, or if you prefer something with more style than substance.
Analysis: Nearly everything in Electric Box 2 is an improvement on the original. Despite similar gameplay, it's hardly recognizable as a sequel to the original, thanks to the major makeover that has been given to the graphics. The cartoony graphics of the original have been replaced with smaller, more professional images, making it look less like a Rube Goldberg machine and more like real-world engineering schematics. Well, as real-world as you can get when you're using a hamster to power a hoverbot, anyway.
But it's not just the graphics that see a marked improvement over the original. The game is nearly three times as long as its predecessor, and has almost twice as many tools available. The difficulty has been ramped up, too; whereas the first could be beaten over a lunch break, this one is going to take considerably longer to work through. Electric Box 2 feels like the game the first one should have been. All of the elements that made it great are still there, but they've been expanded on and polished into perfection.
I wouldn't have thought that the original game could be improved upon, but clearly I understimated the ability of Twinkle Star Games to take things to a whole new level of awesome. Now I'm just waiting to see what you guys can come up with!