Little Alchemy is a curious little game that invites you to experiment and explore. You start with 4 basic “elements” – air, earth, fire and water, and mix these together to find interesting and surprising combinations. For example earth plus air produces dust. Earth and Fire makes lava. Lava plus air makes stone, and so on.
There are over 500 elements to discover. I’ve been playing for a few hours and am on 100 so far.
The game is fun, and I can see it being something you could use with children for problem solving, and story generating. Children could record the combinations they have tried out and try and develop recipes to pass on to other groups of children to try out.
As a scientist the use of the word element is confusing – in this game it’s talking about an older meaning of the word. And while some of the combinations are scientific, a lot require a little more lateral thinking. Bird plus Metal makes aeroplane, for example! Don’t think of this as a simulator that’s going to teach children about chemical reactions or anything like that.
It’s a fun little timewaster, and it’s free so it’s worth firing up and exploring. Some of the combinations reminded me a little of crafting in Minecraft, so some children will probably take to the idea straight away.
Little Alchemy started as a simple experiment in 2010. Later this year it was released for free on Chrome Web Store as a part of the initial group of apps. It quickly became one of the most successful games on this platform with over 1.5 million installs to date.
Four years after initial release, Little Alchemy remains free from ads and in-app payments. Besides being fun it is widely used as an educational tool around the world.
Thanks to Dai Barnes for making me aware of Little Alchemy!