Back when Epic Mickey was first announced, the brush feature made it sound as if it would be about solving problems with creativity. It didn't turn out like that at all, but luckily there are the Indies to take an impossible idea like that and turn it into a cool game. Crayon Physics Deluxe is all about a sheet of paper where everything you sketch becomes part of the game world, with simulated physical properties.
The whole presentation is set up to drive home the sketching concept. All parts of a stage are drawn in the same crayon style as the player-created objects, the Super Mario World-style level map is full of goofy doodles at the side, and some strangely animated sketch creatures populate the area. There are some really fun ideas here, like a sun and a moon that are pulled along a conveyor belt to "simulate" a daylight cycle.
Crayon Physics Deluxe is mostly a puzzle game, although action elements become part of some stages, too. On each screen, the player has to make a red ball pass one or more stars to unlock more stages. This starts out as simple as can be - draw a bridge so the ball rolls down to the star - but soon gets more and more complex. What do you do when the ball is enclosed in a box? While you can delete all self-drawn objects with a click, stage props are irremovable, so you have to move the whole box over to the star. Or when the ball starts below the star, how to get it up there?
The complexity picks up especially after the pins are introduced. These are small circles to which other objects are pinned, thus they can only rotate around them anymore. The example for this use is a hammer whose weight is used to propel the ball like a golf club. At first these appear as fixed parts of the stages, but eventually you also get to draw your own pins. Also, connecting an object directly with a pin creates an elastic rope, which allows for pulley constructions.
On their own, many stages don't feel all that dynamic, because the only driving force to move things around is gravity, but there is one "cheating" move to start things rolling - a click on the ball gives it a slight push to the right. Later levels also introduce rockets, which ignite as soon as something is dropped on them and go off at insane speed. While they break the simple beauty a bit, much fun is to be had with them. Enclose the ball in a box that's tied to the rocket, for example, and try to delete the box just in time for the ball to drop on the star.
Crayon Physics is a mighty fun experiment, and while many stars can be cleared through just drawing garbage, the concept invites to search for creative solutions, and you can even set a flag on a level when you think your method deserves it, alongside the standard flags for single-object solutions and no ball push runs.