If YTMND’s Blue Ball Machine fills you with wonder, or if you rewind and play the opening of “Back to the Future” over and over to memorize every bend and bolt of Doc Brown’s breakfast-making machine, The Package by Rock Pocket games will turn you into a quivering mass of machine-loving goo.
The Package charges you with getting a, um, package from one end of a warehouse to a goal, where it is presumably shipped out and subsequently lost by the postal service. The warehouses vary in shape, size, and aesthetics, but there is one constant truth: The packages that need to be shipped out exist in a world where nobody has arms and legs, meaning objects are moved with a chain of gadgets.
This looks like a job for Rube Goldberg.
You begin each level as the warden of a homeless package and a handful of gizmos that change from scenario to scenario. You might command a boxing glove crate that punches your package (ouch) upwards, or you might have some fans that are strong enough to blow the package around. You might have some conveyor belts, or a ramp. It doesn’t matter how you use your arsenal to get the package to its end goal; what matters is that it happens, preferably in a timely manner.
The faster you solve a level, the more points you’re awarded. Your score actually ticks down as you hem and haw your way around a level, which can be intimidating and distracting. But it also gives you incentive to think faster. If you’re unhappy with your score in one particular level, you can always try again. It’s also just fun to go back and try out different solutions to your package problem.
Dracula gets mail too.
Overall, the open-ended nature of The Package is its biggest draw. There’s a tutorial if you want it, but it doesn’t even begin to describe all the items at your disposal. It’s up to you to try them all out and work out how they’ll best serve your purpose. If the falling counter doesn’t make you sweat too much, it’s a lot of fun to build your wonderful machine slowly: start with one object, see how it interacts with your package, and gradually build from there. The game’s physics are accurate, though the package itself feels a bit “light” (maybe it’s a shipment of tissues?). The “slowly but surely” method of play will serve you best, at least until you get a handle on how things move.
The Package won’t appeal much to people who lack patience or don’t especially enjoy sitting and thinking over their videogames (nothing shameful about that). But if you’re a fan of wonderful machine games, The Package is one of the most compelling and polished offerings available on the App Store.