Game Reviews

Jelly Car 3

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| JellyCar 3
Jelly Car 3
| JellyCar 3

Virtually every child who has ever enrolled in full-time education has at some point idly doodled on his exercise book and wondered what it would be like if his drawings became reality.

While some of these drawings are more innocent than others, Jelly Car 3 wisely chooses to resist the temptation to base a game around phallic doodles and instead focuses on the tale of a boy who is obsessed with drawing cars.

The minimalistic design that results is applied to a challenging and addictive physics-based driving game that will have you hooked.

Wibble Wobble

Building on the gameplay of its predecessors, the aim of the game is to navigate a car made of jelly through a series of levels, using the vehicle's jelly-like properties to overcome obstacles and reach the 'stop' sign in the quickest time possible.

The car is controlled using the touchscreen, with a tap on the left side of the screen powering the rear wheels and a tap to the right powering the front wheels. A tap of the vehicle causes it to increase in size - something that's necessary to overcome certain objects

Jelly Car 3 also makes use of the iPhone’s gyroscope, letting you tilt in order to give your car some momentum, or to flip it over whenever it ends up on its roof.

Objects such as cranes, catapults, and switches complicate things, while power-ups - such as one that allows the car to stick to the environment - and balloons add a degree of strategy and variety.

Depending on how fast your time is, a maximum of three stars is awarded for your performance and new level packs are unlocked after acquiring a certain number of stars. A secret exit is also included in each level, ensuring that there are multiple goals for each level.

Learner Plates

Jelly Car 3 is challenging, but most levels are navigable with a certain amount of persistence, even if you fail to earn each star. However, should patience be a virtue you lack, or if you’re stuck on a particularly troublesome level, some tools are provided to assist in your pursuit.

Firstly, after a number of failed attempts the game will offer the opportunity to a view a demo showing how the level should be tackled most efficiently. This can be an important resource if you find the level a challenge or if you are chasing that elusive third star.

A feature new to the series is the ability to replay your run and select a point from which to restart. This may be a nice idea for beginners, but once your allocation of ten replays has been exhausted additional replays have to be purchased. Not only does this seem rather cynical on the part of the developer, but it also removes a degree of challenge and a sense of achievement.

Pimp My Ride

The inspiration drawn from notebook doodling is evident in the graphical style. Environments and objects have a hand-drawn effect while they look like they’ve been shaded in with crayons. These are complemented by the suitably simple and juvenile sound effects that greet your victories or failures.

A number of car designs are available, but the paint tool allows for the creation of customised liveries that can be applied to four standard car shapes.

This customisation along with the imperfections and lack of graphical standardisation certainly give the impression that this game could be anyone’s doodle come to life.

Chequered Flag

Jelly Cars 3’s simple and childish design is the perfect foil for a game that's deceptively nuanced and challenging.

A substantial number of playthroughs may be necessary to find the optimum route for each of the fifty levels, and the developer has promised that more level packs will be released in the future. The only real flaw is the controls which can be incredibly frustrating at times given that the game is such a physics-heavy experience. Crashing into something as innocuous as a small block can send you spiralling, so you'll spend much time frantically tapping and tilting the screen in order to halt the spin and restore control, often to no avail.

However, this isn't enough to detract from the gameplay, which will ensure that you will want to get three stars on every stage, find every secret exit, and nail every achievement.

Jelly Car 3

Jelly Cars 3 is an addictive combination of driving and physics-based platforming that manages to overcome one or two minor control issues.