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Rating: 4.5/5 (24 votes)
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FlywrenchzxoWhat happens when a game's mechanics are affected by, well, themselves? That's what Mark Essen of Messhof Games might have been wondering when he devised the idea for Flywrench, a downloadable freeware game in which you must guide your bat-like ship through a maze of obstacles to the exit.

Along the way, you must pass through different-colored gates. Now, most games would require you to collect a matching key to get through the gate, but ugh, how passé! Instead, Flywrench requires your ship's color to match the gate color, but the color of your ship is directly tied to the form of movement your ship is currently performing. There are three basic movement patterns you can do, and each has a corresponding color:

  • White: The default motion. Consists of any inertia you might have plus gravity. You may use the [left] and [right] arrows to gain sideways momentum.
  • Red: Activated by tapping [up arrow]. Each tap flaps your ships wings once, providing a brief vertical boost. Holding the [up] button down will only cause a single flap, but your ship will remain red until you release it. Again, the [left] and [right] arrows will move you sideways.
  • Green: Holding the [down arrow] will turn your ship green and activate the rolling movement mode. Rolling is similar to the default mode, but renders you immune to collisions with the yellow walls. Unfortunately, you cannot navigate left and right while in rolling mode.

Colliding with the yellow walls when you are white or red results in instant death, as does trying to pass through a gate whilst donning the wrong color. There are even moving pink walls to which even the green is not immune, as well as blue gates which can only be passed through if unlocked. Needless to say, you're going to become quite familiar with death. However, the game wastes no time getting you back in the action after you crash, making it more work to quit the game than to continue!

Analysis: At first, Flywrench might seem like Ball Revamped with crude graphics, but after a couple of levels it becomes clear that you'll need to learn a few new tricks in order to advance very far. Although there are only four types of gate, how you get through them depends on whether you start above, below, or off to the side of them, as well as the locations of other nearby gates or obstacles. As a result, the gameplay varies much more than you might expect. The overall effect is one of self-reference: the way you play the game is dictated by the method by which you play the game, that is, the movement of your ship. It's an interesting experiment in game mechanics which ultimately succeeds in creating a clever and fun playing experience.

Flywrench isn't overly long; there's a set of levels for each of the 8 planets in our solar system, plus Pluto, but the number of levels for each world continually decreases. However, according to Mark's blog, Flywrench 2 is in the works, so be on the lookout. In the meantime...

Play Flywrench


Controls seem very twitchy. I would prefer it if the game ran at about half the speed.


The sites been farked,or in this case jiged any alternate sites I can access for it?


This game is absolutely brilliant. Fiendishly tricky, but all the tasks are possible enough to make the game addictive.


I can't beat Pluto.

Can we have some easier games on this site, please? I'm getting bored of posting "I can't do it" and, according to the archives, I haven't actually beaten a game on here since March.


I would prefer if the gravity was lessened.


This game is pure genius. It could well be a game for the old Atari system, yet it's so much fun. Congrats to the maker.

Mystify July 27, 2008 1:44 PM

For those of you who can't get the main site to work, try this (mirror) one...

fuzzyface July 27, 2008 3:28 PM

Is there something wrong with my system, or is the "Music" really an extremely nerving cacaphony?


Ah, Flywrench. Fun until you actually get good at it, at which point it becomes kind of boring.
My best time is 3:11.

AndTheLordDidGrin July 27, 2008 4:47 PM

action number 1
of Create Event
for object sxms:

Error defining an external function.


Yea, the music had my finger on the mute button in about four seconds.

I also gotta agree that this would be much more fun at a slower speed. Part of that may be that the screen updates seem to be choppy on my system.

Definitely a cool concept though. Overall I guess I'm enjoying it since I'm getting on towards the end.


Oh for the love of humanity, where is this coveted mute button you speak of?


I liked the game. The music was fine until the gameplay started getting frustrating. I agree that the gravity could be decreased just a tad. Once I got to Jupiter, though, I couldnt take plummeting so quickly anymore.


pluto seemed a little out of place, seeing as its not a planet and all...
anyway, fun game
missed the ending due to a "fatal error" though


I loved this game. For me it wasn't too fast at all, and I actually found the game quite easy. That could be my slow computer though, although I imagine the game would not be too much of a strain on my graphics card.

As for the music, I tolerated it. It is quite noisy at times, and I think the same effect could have been achieved more 'musically', but for 10 minutes i really felt like I was in the world.

Bring on a sequel! More levels!


Argh. It was a tad too difficult for me to enjoy. While the changing color and movement style mechanic is interesting, the game feels like it has all of the frustration of the mouse driven avoidance games.

sesquiped July 29, 2008 1:59 AM

this game is brilliant. Great and original concept. Love the music, the story is intriguing, and it's so simple.


Addictive, but very challenging because of the speed and twitchyness, took me 57 minutes to beat the first playthrough.

The countless hours I spent playing N helped me cope with my innumerable deaths...

Valarauka July 30, 2008 6:07 AM

Ooh, amazing. I finally went and played this through, beat the game in 29:20. Very twitchy and tough at first, but once you get the hang of the controls it becomes easier.

Brilliant concept and execution, but sadly not much replayability there. More levels would be nice; this is one of those games where user-created levels would be both easy to do and tons of fun..


this game is freaking awesome ! untill now, when I though about the best games I played, it was just an untitled story and flail, now I can add flywrench to thoses.


This game moves about twice as fast as it needs to for me to find it enjoyable.


Awesome game. First time was 37:43, best so far is 7:00. I didn't feel that it was too fast-paced by any means. Gravity is just fine, in my opinion. Without the increased-gravity zones from Jupiter on, the game would've been too easy because I could just float around and carefully plan my movements. If that's what you're looking to do in a game, don't play Flywrench. It's clearly aimed to provide a fast-paced, speedy, twitchy experience. It becomes especially awesome once you can better control your flywrench. My one complaint is that it's too short. Definitely looking forward to Flywrench 2


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