Create
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This example screenshot is way, WAY more sane than anything I created in Create.

I've always thought I'd make a pretty good god. Whilst I'd perhaps not go so far as to describe myself as ‘chiselled' per se, my features do have a certain je ne sais quoi. Plus I'm industrious yet bohemian, and - most important of all - when I talk, people LISTEN.

Therefore, god games on the whole have a certain appeal. But perhaps lumping Create in with other so-called god games isn't really fair. On the god games, that is. Create is only a god game so far as Lego is a god game. Sure, you can sort of make stuff, but then... well, you just sort of look at it for a bit, I suppose. No raining flaming animals down upon it, or unleashing it to bring lamentation to the womenfolk of your enemies.

It's ironic, really. The actual Lego franchise has brought some really good games to market in the last few years, including what GD reviewer Phat Chopps described as "The best game based on the original Star Wars trilogy there's ever been". Create, on the other hand, is like Lego sans the game.

Picture the scene. You have started a new level on Create. Before you is a 3D environment roughly twice the width of the screen. You can move the camera around a bit to look over this world, which at this point consists of featureless platforms, open spaces and walls, all of which are coloured in shades of dun, making the whole thing look a bit like it's made from cardboard. Depending on the unlocks you've achieved on other levels you'll have access to a number of fill colours and patterns that you can use to colour the world. You may have a nice tarmac brush you could use to make the roads look like roads, or you might just want to show off your ‘loony' side and tarmac over the hills, leaving the roads as grassy paths. The ‘far away' background can be selected from a limited palette, and objects can be dropped into the world like cars, houses, rockets, dune buggies, or air traffic control towers. ‘stickers' can be stuck over everything, be it clouds for the sky or traffic signs for the roads (or walls).

There you go. That's the idea. Go colour stuff in and drop a couple of objects around the place. Have fun. Whatever.

Beyond this, there are a series of physics puzzles on each level, that require you to perhaps get a motorbike to do a couple of jumps to get to a target, or float a balloon over a pit. Physics puzzles. You know physics puzzles, right? This is just a bunch of those.

So there you go. Physics puzzles and a bit of Lego. That's basically what you're going to be filling the 45 minutes or so that this game holds your attention for. I suppose it's a fairly original idea, or at least it would have been if it hadn't already been done by Crayon Physics Deluxe, Bridge Construction Set, Scribblenauts... Well, it's been done by lots of people, actually.

The whole idea of creating your own narrative in a game, setting your own goals and truly ‘playing in a sandbox' is not as fresh a concept as it might initially seem. EA is a big company, and it feels like they've tried to capture something of the indie enthusiasm that's taken the gaming world by storm. I can't help but imagine a sterile boardroom filled with sharp-suited executives, with their cigar-chewing boss bellowing at them "Come on, youse schmucks! Think like Indie developers! What do I pay you all for?", and Create was the outcome. There's nothing really inspirational here - funny, really, because you score "sparks", presumably of inspiration, for completing challenges in Create.

Now, I think I should remind you of an important point: I'm a gamer. I'm not your girlfriend, or your mum, or an eight-year old boy named Morris. My life is built around concepts such as experience points; levelling up; the various merits of assault rifles and shotguns; earning gold; and fighting stuff. As such, it's just possible that I'm not the best person to ask about Create. Just as I'm probably not the best person to ask about Microsoft Excel 2010 (a complete lack of clearly-defined goals, no real challenge to speak of: 2/10), Ready Brek (I ate a whole bowl and didn't even level up once: 1/10) or Jedward (Where are the guns? Where are the guns? 1/10). Create is not really a game so much as it is a diversion, or perhaps a pastime.

Game or not, there are certainly more interesting ways to use your computer.

A circus in the desert?