For a young(ish) hippy personage such as myself, the title Gearheads conjured up notions of a bunch of ZZ Top lookalikes whose bong was ready to roll if only they had something to put in it. I assumed that the mission would be to guide these heads on a psychedelic trip through time and space in search of God, who not only deals out justice come judgement day, but also does a nice sideline in Northern Lights. Needless to say, I was wrong, and I can't even claim that my idea is better, because after playing Gearheads it's plain that it isn't.
No, this game is about wind-up toys and their constant battle to cross from one side of the screen to the other. In their way however stands other clockwork characters who have made it their mission to get to the opposite side of the screen - and the only thing blocking their path is you. In fact it's somewhat reminiscent of a game of toy tennis which, as any adolescent will tell you, is great fun - especially if you use the head of your kid sister's Barbie.
At first glance, Gearheads promises to be just as mind-numblingly mundane as it sounds, but once you've been slaughtered by the computer for the Nth time, the realisation starts to kick in that life in toytown ain't that easy, and that what's needed here are some toy-oriented tactics.
Canny cockroaches and kick-boxing kangas
Gameplay commences with four toys in your toybox: a Ziggy (cockroach), Big A1 (a jcb), Handy (err, a hand) and Kangaruffian (a boxing marsupial). Your opponent (either the computer or a mate) also has a box of toys, some of which are the same as yours. From now on in it's a case of pitting your wits against chips as you decide which toys to wind up and release, and when. This is actually more important than you might think, because unlike the Duracell bunny, these things can run out of juice -and that's the last thing you need when they're in the middle of the playing area, unless of course your plan of action is to deliberately create a diversion so that you can scuttle ten Ziggys across the winning line. Tactics, you see. Once you've won a few rounds, you then get a crew of different toys - and the war of tactics begins all over again.
After just a couple of hours play you'll suddenly find that Gearheads is not only totally brilliant, but also utterly addictive: the only problem is trying to explain this to anyone who hasn't played it. It neatly combines the planning skills of Tetris with a sixth sense for the unexpected and has loads of options to keep you entertained for days, such as different playing areas, numerous wind-up toys and bizarre power-ups. But a word of warning: after a few rounds of losing, it won't be just the toys who are getting wound up.
PC compatible, P-100
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features:Single game mode