Jelly Car 2
Jelly Car 2's goofy charm and comprehensive features make it a guilty pleasure.
Sometimes the simplest things provide a large amount of entertainment. Take Jelly Car, for instance. When Timothy FitzRandolph's free driving game arrived on the App store a few months ago, thousands of users took part in the joy of driving a hand-drawn car across twisting and turning tracks, while occasionally doubling in size to overcome large objects. Disney Mobile Studios saw the game's potential and released the sequel, Jelly Car 2, which features several more modes and a couple of new power-ups. Sure, it actually has a price tag on it (a dollar), but you'll get your money's worth.
Like most old-school racers, Jelly Car 2 has you drive from start to finish across a series of challenging tracks. One minute, you'll work your way across gaps via spinning pistons and lowering platforms, and the next, you'll drive up walls using sticky tires. The level design is innovative, although there are times when you'll get stuck or fall into a bottomless pit.
Along with being able to cram through tight spaces (the car is made of jelly, after all), you can also change size for a few seconds by tapping the car. It turns into a huge monster jelly truck, with enormous tires that can go over obstacles. In addition, you'll also gain access to two power-ups, balloon and sticky tires. Activating the balloon accessory makes your car weightless, raising you out of bottomless pits and back onto the track. Sticky tires enable you to drive up walls. However, you can only use them for a few seconds, indicated by yellow meters.
Jelly Car 2's controls are a bit loose, and you'll have to get used to tilting your iPhone to flip your car around or get over tough walls (without sticky tires). However, it's just as entertaining as the original, with simple accelerate and brake functions on the side of each screen. You'll get lost in some of the bigger levels, but with unlimited lives and plenty of room to explore, frustration won't set in.
Along with a series of pre-set levels and a fun Long Jump mode (where you shoot for distance via ramps), Jelly Car 2 also gives you the option to build your own using a level editor. This is a very comprehensive tool, with a number of goodies available to play around with. We created some devious little creations in this mode. Unfortunately, you can't share them with anyone else through wireless connection. Here's hoping that Disney remedies this problem with a patch.
There's also a Factory mode, a puzzle-oriented game where you place pieces in the right spots on a pre-made track. It isn't bad, but it feels gimmicky compared to the rest of the game. You'll play it once and then head right back to the modes that matter, particularly the level editor.
Like the original, Jelly Car 2 thrives on simplicity. The hand-drawn visuals, sketched out on a piece of notebook paper, won't overwhelm you, but they're charming in their own little way. Watching your car squish under tight surfaces and bounce around like a soccer ball will make you smile. The sound effects are humorous and worth a listen. They're mostly made up of little voice blurbs that deviate from the dull engine noises found in other driving games. Aside from end-of-level pieces, there isn't much music, but whatever. The effects get the job done. "Boing!"
Best of all, Jelly Car 2 sells for a buck. That makes the game well worth the money. Sure, it would've been sweet to wirelessly share levels with friends, but the presentation and enjoyable gameplay make it a delectable treat.
What's Hot: Goofy sound effects and fun hand-drawn graphics, controls are a cinch to use, new sticky tire and balloon power-ups are useful, you can create levels from the ground up, fun menu system, it's only a buck.
What's Not: You can't share created levels with other users, some stages are mind-bogglingly difficult, Factory Mode feels tacked on.