…is a physics based racing game with a lot of gory twists. The courses are tricky. The racers move like actual bodies for full realism. When the player misses a turn and falls into a pit with a giant spinning spiked pole the blood and body parts fly.
The demo for Happy Wheels is more involved then most demos. It promises to give a full taste of the game instead of just a teaser. First, you select your course. You have choices of an Obstacle Course followed by Gut Bus Extreme, BMX_Park II, Snowy Mountain *final*, Dawn of the Dead lvl 1, A large Satan Eats u, TrapTrac and finally, It Keeps Happening and Rope Swings. The levels are creatively named and vary a lot in style. Truly, this is a game for everyone who enjoys a game of racing carnage.
Each level is labeled as to what kind of game play you can expect. All of them include lots of gory fun and dismemberment waiting to happen. A large Satan eats u, for example, starts with the player shoved into the gullet of a large Satan and has the player try to make it out alive… and that’s not easy!
Second, you pick your character. Demo characters are a crazed hobo on a rocket wheelchair, a businessman on a Segway and a father and son on a bike. Each character has a special move to increase speed. For example, the hobo turns on his rocket to zoom. Each one handles differently thanks to the games physics; Segway man almost hops along as he avoids pitfalls. In a great realistic touch the father and son can both fall out of the bike…and the son suffers the same fate as his unlucky father. What a fun game demo!
Some fun stats on what the top most played characters are in Happy Wheels:
- Irresponsible dad
- Segway guy
- Helicopter man
- Pogostick man
- Wheelchair guy
- Lawnmower man
- Santa Claus
- Moped couple
- Explorer guy
- Irresponsible mom
- Effective shopper
It is a little saddening to say, but I actually really like effective shopper and am a little disappointed that she’s on the bottom of the list.
Online Game Updates
With the recent update of 1.82, there have been several minor features and bug issues that have been addressed, along with the most exciting “full screen” support.
Mobile – iOS and Android Development Updates
The most exciting and thrilling news is that the creator of the game, Jim Bonacci, and his team have been working on mobile versions of the game with development for iOS as well as android. The primary focus however, has been for pushing out the iOS version. While there still is no firm date for releases or even beta, we do have glimpses of what is to come, and according to Totaljerkface “…the results are looking really good…”. One of the biggest concerns was controls and user interface with the game’s transposition to mobile, but onscreen controls feel pretty natural and are noninvasive from the looks of things so far.
There is still many new and updates that are still coming out as development run its course.
Some possible features to look out for:
Characters and levels
Usually, through a game’s development process, it is far more reasonable to expect the character models and physics for one character to be built out at a time. There is expected to be 6 characters under development for the launch with iOS.
– Wheelchair guy, Segway Guy, Irresponsible Dad, Effective Shopper, Moped Couple, and Pogostick Man.
These are the same characters we have become used to from the desktop version of the game and we don’t see any indications that there will be much changes to their physics or characters. Additional lineups of characters are expected to be added in time. How different they will be from the web game is uncertain but we do know that each character will have its own ‘chapter’.
Within the chapter, there are expected to be 10-15 different sets of levels and terrain/maps with layout and theme specifically for that character. Similar to what we are used to, there will additional levels that players have the full selection of characters to play as. Believe it or not, this may help to develop the personas of our beloved characters a lot more – if not in a more bloody way.
We certainly hope that regardless of what these new levels and chapters look like, it will add to the overall satisfying experience of running through character through the physics course to create a more immersive “world” for players to enjoy and explore. We really hope that the level development fits well with each characters unique “attributes” and style of play.
We have been told that the onscreen controls for the iOS and mobile games are simplified from what we are used to on the online version. In the iOS, there are buttons for forward/reverse, lean left/right, special, and eject. The layout is expected to be consistent between characters, but as expected, the number of buttons or layout may vary to reflect the attributes and “skills” of different characters.
Level and Stage Editor
One of the funnest aspects of the online web based Happy Wheels game was the ability for user customized and created levels. The biggest concern and challenge we feel is how will the level editor be implemented and play out from mobile or tablets? There may not be a clean user interface and interaction with level building given the technical limitations of what you can or can not do on a smaller display.
That said, we do know that the preliminary level editor will be simplified and that it will not be as robust as the online editor, initially. But Totaljerkface has promised us that all of the current hazards, various items, and shapes (not polygons) can, and will be added and modified. How these are tasked and implemented from a user’s usability standpoint will be a deciding factor of how far the level editor will go. If it is clumsy and a pain, users are less likely to generate the same quality and dynamic nature of levels that we have come to expect.
Users should be able to save the the levels locally on each device or shared between devices via email. We do expect that the public level browser similar to what is available in the browser version will only be added on later.
What would be interesting to see is if current browser level and maps will also be playable, and iOS level maps playable on the browser. If possible, this could definitely result in a much more variable level base for players to choose and play from – at their convenience and leisure.
iOS: Given how long development has actually taken (for good reason though), the target is iOS 6 and up.
- iPhone 4S, 5, 5C, 5S, 6, 6+.
- iPhone 4 should also work, but with a noticeable drop in framerate.
- iPod Touch 5th generation. Like the iPhone 4, it should install on an iPod Touch 4th gen, but it will probably run slowly.
- iPad 2, 3, 4, Air.
- iPad Mini 1, 2
Android: The developers have tested on Android port and apparently, the results are pretty decent and promising. But given how small of a development team they actually are, we don’t expect them to tackle iOS and Android at the same time. From a user’s perspective, the Android players market may be the bigger market, but it is known that iOS user’s are more likely to pay and be more active than Android users! So, from a business and developers perspective, their decision to focus on iOS does make sense.
Always a sensitive and touchy issue. According to the developers, they have considered several different revenue streams with the release of the app – from freemium, to pay to play, to ads. However, in the end, they decided that they would simply sell the game for $2.99 on the Apple App store.
They did promise that within the first couple of days, the game will be on sale for $1.99. Not exactly a huge saving, but given the amount of work the entire Happy Wheels development has taken, it is fair. For less than a cup of coffee or a burger at Mickey D’s, you can get the app – is the theory.
But given the demographic and age group of it’s core user base, is this the right strategy? Will this pay to play hinder the amount of new users/player base generation? Granted $3 is not expensive, but we do believe any price tag will hinder new user penetration. It is a very physical barrier for most young players, if not the actual price tag, but the action & barriers required to purchase the game.
Stay tuned for new updates as they are released!