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When you have an iPhone, chances are good that any game you play needs to be completed quickly . To earn a permanent spot it has to be easily learned and quickly addictive. Jelly Car, a physics-based game featuring a squishy marshmallow car, handily satisfies these requirements.
Mini games come in a variety of shapes and sizes. What unites the genre is the speed with which players can pickup the games and the relatively short time required to complete a level or two.
Jelly Car is a puzzle game set up in mini-game format where you manoeuvre a wiggly amorphous car - hence the name - through a series of obstacles to reach the end goal. While the game is timed, you can take as long as you need to complete the mini-game, although there are definitely ways to destroy your car and have to start over.
The game's hook lies in that it is very easy to learn, but since each level (graded Easy, Average and Hard) has a distinct obstacle to overcome, it is difficult to master. This levels the playing field to a degree and allows kids to enjoy it as much as adults.
The graphics and sound make it instantly appealing, with simple line drawings and a whimsical sproing sound as you enter into the game. With limited touch controls – touch in front of the car to make it accelerate, backward to make it go backward, and touch the car itself to make it expand – anyone can immediately pick this game up and understand how to play. The game also makes use of the accelerometer, allowing you to tilt the phone and make the car rotate.
The best feature of this game by far is its whimsical quality. Who can fail to be charmed by a car that looks as if it was drawn by a kindergartner and can be squished through gates and giant wheels and the like? Add equally humorous sound effects – the car literally goes putt putt putt as it moves through the levels and boings like a spring as it careens off items -and everyone around you will want to give this game a go. Certain levels are surprisingly hard to achieve, however, so it will keep your attention through your coffee break.
This is a game you can play when you literally have only a minute. It's perfect for waiting for the bus, or when you need a quick mental break. It also gives a quick jolt of pure silly and childlike joy in seeing stuff get squeezed and squished. My young kids have yet to complete a level, but still love to try their hand at the game just to see what they can make the jelly car do.
Each Jelly Car level, at least in the Easy and Average tiers, can theoretically be achieved in under one to two minutes. It can also take far longer than that, particularly in those levels where it's possible to double back on yourself and end up back at the start. Each level is timed, thereby increasing the replay interest, because once you complete the level, you'll want to see if you can beat your time.
The whimsicality and simplicity of the drawings and controls make this an ideal game for young players, who again, may not be able to reach many of the goals, but will still love moving the car through the various challenges.
The increasing sophistication of the challenges, based on the realities of physics, including inertia and acceleration, will hold the interest of even more expert players. This is truly a game with something for everyone. And since it is a free app, the price can't be beat.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: