[Every Wednesday Gamer Limit will highlight an indie title: from the iPhone to the Xbox Live Arcade!]
Getting frustrated at games is usually an easy thing to do. Bryan Mitchell’s Geared gives us all a lot of opportunity to get frustrated at the games staggeringly hefty level number.
Thankfully, Geared’s simple ‘trial and error’ game-play formula doesn’t get too frustrating, despite the sometimes glitchy game-play faults.
As kids, its likely that we all came across the gear puzzles, connect different sized gears together and spin one to make them all turn. Oh, what fun that was. Geared operates on the same timeless premise. A ‘motor’ gear rotates with others which must be turned by it are all connected in a specific way. With only a limited amount of different sized pieces to connect each gear together and a plethora of 80 levels Geared may begin to get a little stale as you burn through the games first 20 dead-easy levels.
Moving objects around in Geared is all done by selecting a gear size (of which there are 5) and dragging it to a desired location. The tabs which the gears are ‘stored’ are all very small and very close together, which makes for selecting the wrong gear a common practice when learning how to play. Something which players will adapt to but nonetheless its still frustrating.
If you do happen to select the wrong gear or want to get rid of one on the board, a simple swipe down the screen ‘throws’ the gear away. This is a simple yet extremely effective control feature, rather than a simple ‘select and delete’ model Geared motivates the natural reaction of ‘throwing’ something away when it isn’t needed. Clearing the board of lots of gears and starting again is very easy and convenient thing to do.
Geared definitely packs in a lot of content for its price ($1.19 AUD) : the game’s 80 levels took me a good 6+ hours to get through. Granted that most of that time was just looking blankly at each puzzle until the solution finally ‘clicked’. The first half of Geared has a distinct Braid feel that, a level which looks to be impossible to complete is actually very simple once the right combination is found. Unfortunately, as the levels increase in difficulty there seems to be a unclear line of when gears are and are not connected.
More often than not you’ll have the right solution but not have ‘stretched’ the gears far enough to make them connect. This pixel perfect concept becomes frustrating with the later levels taking much longer than they should, as you’ve probably solved the puzzle a good twenty minutes ago but haven’t exploited the reach of the gears enough. There is also the issue of gears clipping though each other and still not activating. Its small glitches like these which take away from Geared’s simple and enjoyable puzzle solving mechanic.
On the surface Geared’s mass of levels which can take up to 5 hours plus to complete and simple (slightly nostalgic) concept make it one of the best value for money games on the App store, even though the tech can occasionally fail on some of the more difficult levels.