From Warwickshire, UK, David Durham's Gear Puzzle is a simple puzzle game featured in our recent game design competition. As the game begins, a small blue character with big puppy-dog eyes catches sight of a pink character locked in a cage. The cage is chained to a gear suspended from the top of the screen. Pegs line the wall and various sized gears are scattered around. Helpless but heroic, the blue guy does the only thing he can to help: jumps on the gear across the room and starts spinning it. Your job is to arrange gears on the pegs to transfer the motion across the room to lower the cage.
Solving Gear Puzzle is a simple matter of experimenting with gear combinations, but you do have to put some thought into your actions. The gears must come in contact with each other in order to keep the movement going. Because of the pegs and the gear sizes this can be a challenge. A little trial and error can go a long way, and there are a number of ways to complete the game, so persistence and planning are your greatest weapons.
The design of Gear Puzzle is very clean and crisp. Sound effects are elegantly confined to the clicking of gears as you lift and place them on pegs. The dungeon-esque setting is great, and the characters couldn't be any cuter. Just look at those eyes! The game isn't difficult to solve and once you complete it there isn't much impetus to come back and play again. Nevertheless, Gear Puzzle is very well designed and a complete joy from beginning to end. Thanks for the great entry, David!
Jay: What I like most about David's adorably cute Gear Puzzle is the simple yet effective goal of rescue mission as motivation to explore and solve the puzzle within. It is a universally identifiable objective that David brilliantly conveys without words through the game's intro animation, and makes this entry in the competition stand shoulders tall with the best of them. A possible improvement might be to allow the player to select which of the two characters she wishes to play as, since I know some girls that would like to play the part of the rescuer. ;)
In terms of the design of the puzzle game, there are a few too many possible solutions, which makes it seem just a little too easy overall. An excellent production none the less, and an enjoyable game while it lasts. Cheers, David! =)