SteerWheels


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Rating: 3.4/5 (168 votes)
| Comments (33) | Views (8)

JaySteer WheelsAnother quickie review up next, this one for SteerWheels, a fun little physics-based action puzzle by Tudway. The objective is to move the little yellow ball to the yellow goal of each level by pushing it with a set of wheels.

Control is with the keyboard. Press the [left] and [right] arrow keys to move the wheels in either direction. Press the [R] key to reset a level if you fail, or if you fall off the screen. Press the (II) button on-screen (using the mouse) to pause.

You have a limited time within which to complete each level. If you fail, within the time allotted, you lose one life. Lose all 5 lives and it's game over.

Analysis: If you're like me, you love physics-based puzzle games like this. We've seen more and more of them lately as Flash has matured, and I never tire of playing them. Tudway gets the physics right in his implementation of the open source APE (actionscript physics engine), but the interface suffers from some bugs and glitches. Not so much, though, to ruin the experience. However, all Flash game designers should keep in mind the casual audience these games are popular with. Casual gamers generally prefer to play without being pressured with a clock ticking. For gosh sakes, don't we get enough of that in real life? Please don't extend that pressure to our recreation time, too. At least provide a "no pressure" infinite lives option to maximize the potential audience for your game design efforts. Agree or disagree? Sound off in the comments. In the meantime,

Play SteerWheels

33 Comments

Miasere Author Profile Page May 21, 2008 6:11 PM

Gret game, nice music and decent challenge, but I agree with Jay that it suffers from having the pressure of the clock. Games where pressure is involved need to have precission controls. As you are moving the ball with the movement of the cart it lacks that. Interesting to play but not one I will come back to time and again.

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Infinite lives is the way to go in puzzle games, and I feel that lives are a distraction and force a game experience to end prematurely. I see it as a lasting mechanic of the 80's arcade cabinets which needed a method of sucking more quarters out of people and with that it doesn't really fit into most puzzle game styles these days. I think there are appropriate times to use lives (most highscore-based arcade games for example) but for most puzzle games I would rather not have my hand slapped so hard.

I liked this game though. It was challenging and the APE engine looked like it was fun to use.

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I liked the game, but hated the clock

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I beat the clock! Literally! Just press space twice. I used Mozilla Firefox on Windows XP if it makes a difference. You have to do it for every level.

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chibidani Author Profile Page May 21, 2008 9:12 PM

I have to agree as well. I messed up on level 3 or 4, hit reset, and lost a life; and I don't like the pressure of the clock. Otherwise, a neat little toy.

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yup...what this game needs is a way to start from the last level you failed...and the menu on the main screen is alot harder to navigate than it needs to be.

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Dr. Pepsi May 21, 2008 9:52 PM

Infinite lives is the way to go in puzzle games.

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Its being very glitchy for me. Its going too fast. The level starts, I press the arrow and the ball just flies. Anyone else?

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Shostie Author Profile Page May 21, 2008 10:09 PM

I've had the same problem Tati is having. I generally had to hit restart to get the level to run at a normal speed.

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I agree, make time an optional feature. Some of us in our relaxed lives are not devoted Time Whores like others. But we won't mention names, will we.

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Superslash Author Profile Page May 21, 2008 10:47 PM

I will say one thing:

If you're going to give me a time limit, do not toy with me by making me and the yellow ball SO BOUNCY that I can't proceed with most levels until a good 5 seconds of my time limit is gone. Just make the time limit shorter and start me safely on the ground.

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OrigamiMarie Author Profile Page May 21, 2008 11:14 PM

I tried out Zace's trick and tinkered around with it some. On IE, it doesn't work, the clock-stop and the game-stop work properly together. However I got Zace's results in Firefox. In this way I actually finished the game, and got 11th place ranking, and I probably would have gotten first place if I had not been doing experiments with starting and stopping. The perfect scores on the scoreboard MUST have been achieved this way, I think 83,000 = zero time spent and zero lives lost. Tinkering with the space bar, I figured out what it was doing in Firefox: one space stopped motion but not the clock, then all the rest of the spaces toggle both, so that time runs while motion is stopped and vice-versa.
Anyway, I agree, this is a physics toy with goals, and physics toys really shouldn't have limited time. And I think it is sort of funny that if you lose your car off the edge of the screen, it doesn't burn a life.

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Almost all these people are all jig users :P

~wade A.K.A. Foxel/Mushroomfly

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OrigamiMarie Author Profile Page May 22, 2008 1:03 AM

The bug is browser independent. I was trying to repeat the bug in a new session, and couldn't. Then I figured it out: lose a game, then accept its offer to play another. That next game has the bug, but if you reload then the bug goes away again. That explains why they didn't catch it in testing.

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aahh.. I love it!
but that is the problem... when you are game over you have to start all over again, I dont care about lives or time but I just want to see some more of the levels.

too bad 3/5 It could be a 5/5 if you insert infinite lives.

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Is it sad that I knew it was the APE engine as soon as I saw the picture? I think it helps that the game is just a disguised version of the APE demo (http://www.cove.org/ape/demo1.htm) but with goals/points/extras.

I am not complaining, as I love physics games, but it is too bad that I couldn't get past level 9.
Developers need to remember that users haven't had months developing fine motor controls for one particular game.

In that sense, the demo was better because you can't die (plus it is fun to see if you can stop the turnstyle thingie!)

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So I have to start from the start all over again? Not going to happen.

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Deadl0ck Author Profile Page May 22, 2008 8:03 AM

I'd like to point out that the bonus levels that you can play on the games reloaded version, are without time limit, and have infinite lives.

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master_flea Author Profile Page May 22, 2008 9:29 AM

The game doesn't seem to want to load for me...

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Thank you for testing the glitch. I was happy that there was an easier way to beat the game.

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monkeymynd Author Profile Page May 22, 2008 9:20 PM

I'm having the 'speed' issue as well (using FF 2.0) I press the arrow key and the thing just takes off like a bullet. Have to reset to get the speed to return to normal, but it ruined the game play for me :(

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I HATE the Timer But The Rest Is Good

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jwanders Author Profile Page May 22, 2008 10:03 PM

Agree that infinite lives is the way to go here. Was into the game until a level where you have to hit a purple switch to open a pit with a bouncy red line. The controls when all screwy: hitting forward while carrying the yellow ball quickly decelerates me and makes it impossible to move right even after the ball falls off.

I did eventually managed to hit the purple switch and the pit appeared to open, yet still nothing will fall into it. Game seems to need more beta-testing _and_ play-testing.

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Capcapone Author Profile Page May 23, 2008 9:17 AM

I had the same problem as tati which I couldn't fix in firefox. In IE the menu would load then when I started a game it would just say game over a lock up. Pretty disappointing...

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hulakitty Author Profile Page May 23, 2008 12:28 PM

Same comment as the others, here. I'm frustrated because I have to keep restarting from the beginning to get to new levels, and I'm wasting a lot of lives in the pendulum swing one. A lot of fun, otherwise!

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Brandon_ha May 25, 2008 10:09 AM

I know its cheating but due to the glitch I got top score for the day, which is basically a 48 way tie for first based on the day the scores where made.

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Hi, i'm tudway the creator of SteerWheels and i just found this review. Thanks a lot for the review Jay, the comments that i got from you and the users where priceless. I am currently working on a sequel, which i have been testing with my beta testers a lot recently. For the first game my testers didn't find the double space cheat and as the game was already widely spread by the time i found out, i could update all the sites. For the new game i have made sure that the space cheat doesn't work. I have added features such as:
timetrial mode- this is the same mode as the first one
practise mode - this is without the timer but still as fun
Save - the game now saves your level progress and thanks to the new level select feature you can come back and play any level when you want to.
Quit - you can press M to quit
It also saves your top score so you can check to see if you can beat it if you decide to replay.

thanks a lot for all your feed back and the new game should be out mid june:)

thanks,
tudway

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ok here is a cool little cheat

press space twice quick of every level

its cool huh ☺

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I for one agree on the time restraints and need for infinite stages.

However, wouldn't it also be cool if they made more than one way to reach your destination (perhaps 101 ways) without it being difficult. I feel a lot of cyberspace games lack that.

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I found a glitch:on some of the levels it will play the intro's audio and go into hyper speed, making it almost impossible to complete the level.

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The hyperspeed bug is easy to beat, just pause the game with space or the pause button, wait (it'll calm down), restart the level if necessary, proceed.

Pause won't work if you've got the infinite time glitch(I never encountered it), but you can still restart.

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