Video Game Rentals Delivered

Elefunk (PSN)

David Yun (PSN Gamertag - Vawce) David Yun (PSN Gamertag - Vawce): (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2009-04-23 17:49:57

Elefunk (PSN) - Rank C

Developer: 8bit Games
Publisher: SCEA
Date: 7/17/08

Elefunk's premise is simple. Using a set number of construction pieces, you need to build a bridge sturdy enough for elephants to tromp across them. It's all about physics and weight distribution. The effort involved can be engrossing, but not necessarily fun.

My primary criticism revolves around the trial and error tediousness of the endeavor. It's not so much a puzzle game as it is a test of the player's stubborn determination to succeed. Coupling the woefully inadequate tutorial with frustrating difficulty, Elefunk progresses well beyond the elegant boundaries of a puzzler into the realm of demanding players to become structural engineers. Well, most of us aren't. Elefunk kind of reminds me of a Calvin & Hobbes comic strip that went:

Calvin: How do they know the load limit on bridges, Dad?
Dad: They drive bigger and bigger trucks over the bridge until it breaks. Then they weigh the last truck and rebuild the bridge.
Calvin: Oh, I should've guessed.
Mom: Dear, if you don't know the answer, just tell him!

Trapped in a similarly asinine scenario, the player parades innumerable herds of elephants to their deaths until finally lighting upon a bridge construction that can support them. Elefunk is a difficult game in the sense that any given stage will take most players numerous attempts to conquer, but easy in the sense that sufficient persistence is all that is required to eventually surmount the challenge. For the most part, Elefunk lacks that satisfying creative leap of logic that good puzzlers inspire.

Elefunk isn't terrible. The elephants are charming, and the construction process can be absorbing. It even includes a multiplayer mode in which the participants take turns removing bridge components. It's a twisted form of Jenga; the player who causes the elephant to tumble is the loser. Most happily, for those of you inclined to purchase it even after this review, it only costs $5.

I just can't recommend it even at that price, because there are any number of other games worthier of your time investment. Unless you've been specifically clamoring for a construction game in which failure kills elephants, "Elefunk isn't terrible," isn't a strong enough reason to spend your hours tinkering with flimsy bridges.

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