Puzzle games come and go, with few making a lasting impression. Fewer still reach the exalted heights achieved by that classic, Lemmings. Gear Works is unlikely ever to be referred to in the same sentence as that game but that doesn't mean it's not worth a quick five minutes.
The aim of the game is to convert 12 Wonders of the World into massive clocks. Quite why you're supposed to do this isn't made clear but who cares? Anyway, you build the inner mechanisms of the clocks by placing various gear wheels in a linked chain from the left hand side of the screen to the right. The gears themselves come in three sizes and are handed out in a random fashion.
The trick is to place them all in a pattern that'll enable the red one on the left to turn the one(s) on the far right. It sounds easy enough till you realize that you've got to hang them on one of the pegs that cover the backdrop. AND that the pegs' patterns become increasingly difficult the higher the level. Have you got that? Yes, good.
Well, if that wasn't hard enough you're also up against a timer which speeds up with every linked gear in place. To really add suspense there's even a couple of gremlins which delight in jumping around the screen rusting the gears and breaking off the pegs.
Fortunately, there is a bank of icons below the play area where you can change your cursor to a gunsight and blow them away. Alternatively, there's an oil can to free rusted gears and a bomb to blow up badly placed ones. Supplies are limited though and can only be increased when you've accumulated enough points to allow you to play on an intra-level slot machine.
Initially, I wasn't too impressed by Gear Works. The graphics are not great and the in-game tune crates on the nerves after a while (you can turn it off). The difficulty curve seemed far too low at first but I soon realized that the later levels are much tougher. You actually have to plan ahead and really study the peg layout instead of just lining one gear after another.
The game's far from being a classic and is unlikely to keep dragging you back session after session.
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