UPDATE: It appears that JellyCar has made the transition from “Freeware” game to Commercial Indie title, with subsequent releases on iOS.  Toward the bottom of the page the original Windows “demo” appears to still be available for download.

There’s been a meme running through the indie gaming scene in recent years involving crayons and crinkled notebook paper.  Rather than trying to uncover the origin of it I’ll introduce you to one of the noteworthy games to emerge from it.  We see this in Hollywood a lot too don’t we.  The game is called JellyCar and, as the name suggests, you’ll be taking control of a quite jelly-like auto as it tools about in a jelly-like world.  Sounds a touch strange at first I know.  But this turns out to be a great excuse for a fun trek through a bouncy, gelatinous (physics-based) world.  Designer Walaber has done an excellent job here of creating the look and feel of crayon drawn Jello as side-scrolling car puzzler.  Maybe “puzzle” isn’t the right word as mostly it’s about trial & error and beating your previous times.

The nice thing about the design of JellyCar’s twenty levels is the open manner in which many of them can be tackled.  This is largely due to the fact that your car has a special ability…it grows temporarily (until the meter runs out) enabling you to plow over or through obstacles somewhat like a monster truck.  It isn’t always necessary though and there’s plenty of room for experimentation.  The control scheme really is the focal point and I must say well implemented.  It should be noted here the game was designed specifically for the Windows compatible Xbox 360 Controller – as you’ll see in the menus.  But I suspect other brands may work with limited results.  Instead of the traditional accelerate/brake scheme you might expect, the left & right trigger buttons function as forward & reverse gears.  As an added touch the left analog stick leans the car slightly forward or backward to help with the various drops and hills.  You really have to experience it to get the full effect but take my word when I say it’s a creative and enjoyable setup.  The goal of each level is to make it from start to finish without falling Out of Bounds.  This isn’t always easy given how bouncy things can be.  I recommend using the zoom feature to assess the level before setting off.

Should you pull off an exceptional time beating a level a nice Instant Replay option has been included, letting you bask in your skillful mastery over the controls.  Also of note is the fittingly upbeat music, contributed kindly by Matt McCarthy.  Both the music tracks, and the delightfully humorous sound effects complement each other well and do much to round out the package.  As an added feature alternate visual styles are available should you be in the mood for something other than the crayon look.  These include Vector, Graphic and Blue Print and are available at the main menu.  For those with a creative streak you might also make a go at the bundled Level Editor.  Though I didn’t notice if there was a place to upload/download user created levels.

JellyCar is a quality package, brimming with originality and good old fashioned fun, especially for those who happen already to have the proper controller for it.  Those who don’t might still wish to give it a go using the alternate keyboard controls.  Or, if you happen to own an iPhone, head on over to the online Apple store and look for a free downloadable version made just for it.

Designer: Walaber
Type: Original
Genre: Platformer
Format: Installer
File Size: 58 MB
Control Scheme: Keyboard, Gamepad
Portable: I’m not sure
Version Played: 1.1.1

Visit the Official Homepage

Published in: on March 30, 2009 at 8:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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