Rovio is best known for the avian antics of its popular Angry Birds, but Amazing Alex is proof that the software developer is more than a one-trick pony. This adventure puzzle game for Android smartphones and tablets is every bit as addictive as hanging out with Black Bird, Yellow Bird, Big Brother Bird et al, if less groundbreaking.
Amazing Alex isn't about to reach the dizzying heights of success of Rovio's Angry Birds, particularly given the limited amount of gameplay available in the free version, but you could easily lose whole train journeys interacting with the various toys stored in this little boy's house. See Best Anroid Apps.
Although the concept of the game itself is different, the interface borrows heavily from that of Angry Birds - you'll find the same restart, menu and sound on/off icons, and an identical level structure in which each task is grouped into a larger set. In familiar Rovio fashion, up to three stars are awarded - but these depend on how many stars you collect in the level itself, rather than how highly you score. See Android Advisor.
Only the first group, The Classroom, is unlocked in Amazing Alex Free, which offers 16 levels. There's not enough in the free version to keep you playing, but it serves as a decent demo to help you work out whether you want to pay 64p for the full game. Unlocked, Amazing Alex offers 100 levels across four locations.
As in Angry Birds, the first few levels are ridiculously easy: you simply have to correctly position a wooden bench, book, box, balloon or pair of scissors to create a chain reaction that will, for example, land a football in a basket when it's rolled toward it, or pop a balloon let off in the direction of a pair of scissors.
You don't even need to work out where to put the items in the first eight levels, since the area is highlighted onscreen with a dotted outline. You must work out the correct positioning for yourself thereafter, but there's nothing here that will cause too much head-scratching. In some cases, there may be more than one possible solution. Each level you complete unlocks the next three levels in any case, so if you do get stuck on one you can move on to the next.