Gearheads is a tough game to put down once you start playing. The graphics are good and so is the sound is good, but the game play is unusual.
The concept of wind-up toys playing a complicated game of Red Rover was foreign to me. There have been games with similar schematics. Pong comes to mind, if only because your goal is to get an object past your opponent. Gearheads requires you to get multiple objects past an opponent, and these objects have different weights and speeds. Speaking in terms of evolution, Gearheads is to Pong as humans are to trilobites. It's amazing to look at the rapid evolution of video games and computers in a span of less than 30 years.
The graphic design in Gearheads is amazing. Though the backgrounds are little more than tiled images on the screen, the characters all have unique textures and ways of moving. The animation is flawless. Colors are bright and vivid. If nothing else, Gearheads is visually stunning.
The sound effects in Gearheads are also done well. Each character has its own voice and repertoire of effects. Each effect is in sync with each corresponding animation. The total number of sound effects is fairly amazing. These aren't just beeps and screeches. These are digital samples pulled from real life or at least real actors and artificial situations.
The music is catchy, but you don't really hear it during game play. This is mainly because focus on the game is so important. It's also because there are so many sound effects during actual play that the music is tough to hear behind them.
Game play and concept are the only places where Gearheads gets somewhat iffy. Don't get me wrong, it's a good game. You may find myself staring at it for hours. Still, there is something that just isn't quite right.
First off, control of your toys is very limited. You get to decide how much they get wound up and where they are released. After that, they are on their own. It would be nice to occasionally change your mind shortly after you realize that you sent a bulldozer when you meant to send a bomb. A little more control would be nice, but it isn't enough to throw the game away on. In fact, this twinge of frustration may be what draws me back to Gearheads over and over again.
Second, game play does tend to get quite repetitive. Sometimes, you can get your 21 toys to scamper to the other side so quickly that you wonder if your opponent is even playing. Other times, it can take a figurative eternity for either player to reach the magical number. The bonus stages tend to break up the monotony, but they simply limit the types of toys you get. Bonus play is just like regular play with a small twist. It, too, can get boring.
Otherwise, Gearheads is a great game. It has the same hyper-addictivity that games like Tetris and other puzzle games do, even though Gearheads itself is far from a puzzler. Gearheads is mindless toy smashing at its best.
Graphics: Very cool.
Sound: Near perfect.
Enjoyment: A few glytches, but still great fun.
Replay Value: Slightly repetitive, but still addictive.
This inventive puzzler sadly disappeared from stores in less than 6 months after its release. The premise is simple: try to get 21 wind-up toys over to your opponent's side before he can do the same to you. The difficulty lies in the unique abilities of toys, e.g. Clucketta the chicken can lay tiny wind-up chicks, and Handy can wind up toys that wind down. A fun and charming game that combine arcade reflexes and puzzle elements into a very captivating experience. The game is essentially a great variant of paper-rock-scissors game, and can be considered a modern update of EA's classic Archon, but with a more cartoony feel.
People who downloaded Gearheads have also downloaded:
Gear Works, Castle of Dr. Brain, Icebreaker, Lost Mind of Dr. Brain, The, Incredible Machine, The, Incredible Machine 2, The, Enigma (2003), Germ Nation
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