Queen of (Mine)Carts
A downloadable game
Birmingham McQueen is in Deep. Deep in a Mine, that is.
Famed lady adventurer Birmingham McQueen has found herself deep inside an Emerald Mine in the darkest regions of West Sussex. What exactly an Emerald Mine is doing in West Sussex, how the nefarious folks running it have somehow amassed a small legion of child labourers without alerting the local authorities, and how McQueen are things that can only be recounted as part of an epic saga full of adventure, romance and really, really clever environment puzzles.
Unfortunately, none of that is covered in this game. Still, having foiled the gang of malicious miners, McQueen is now faced with the daunting task of somehow getting all the kids back out of the mine, with only a bunch of minecarts to hand. Highly explosive minecarts at that, prone to blowing up at the slightest provocation.
Still, these kids are about to find out where Birmingham McQueen is also known by another moniker... The Queen of Minecarts.
This is a game for the Playdate if you can't tell from the one-bit visuals and the tags, by the way.
40 stages of cart-rolling, track-cranking actions, with two different endings!
How To Play
Minecarts will appear and follow the tracks. You need to get them to the other end of the track, where they'll disappear offscreen. There are a bunch of turntables in the way, though - turn the crank on your Playdate to align them to the track the cart is travelling along before the cart reaches them!
That said, all the turntables are linked together and will turn simultaneously. How dastardly a setup!
You can tap the A button at any time to restart the current stage, and holding the B button will bounce you back to the menu, but most of the game is played with the Crank and (for a few stages) the d-pad. As a result, I'm afraid it's not particularly friendly if you are playing on the Playdate simulator without having the console to hand.
I had the idea for this game on Monday whilst out for a walk and contemplating a design consideration on another game I'm working on, and the quick prototype I threw together seemed like fun. Because I was on a weeks vacation and apparently I've forgotten how to relax, I figured I may as well have a go at cranking out something resembling an actual game from it. It's pretty short in terms of the number of actual stages, though if you want to perfectly clear all of them it's somewhat trickier - honestly, the code for this is all pretty simple as I took some pretty half-assed shortcuts in a couple of places, but figuring out properly working stage designs and cart timings such that the stages were neither too easy nor literally impossible ended up taking what I thought would be a short two day project into something I spent a whole week on. It is possible to get through every stage without losing a cart, though - I managed this with a way harsher collision window then what is in the final released.
Still, though, given this was made in less than a week, it's effectively a development speedrun, so I'd expect there to be a couple of bugs in there somewhere that I failed to spot. Hopefully nothing too gamebreaking, though.
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Such an amazing game! Thanks for making this :)
Thanks, appreciate it
One of my top 3 at the moment... amazing game, happy to support and your future endeavors!!!
One of my favorite playdate games so far! Great use of the crank and fun puzzles. My only frustration was that the rotation of the tracks was not perfectly synced to the rotation of the crank, so it was challenging to play the game by feel. Didn't stop my from 100%ing it though :) Hope you update it with more puzzles later!
Oh, wow, I'm impressed you managed to clear it - I had to do it for testing, and at a certain point I was wondering if some of the stages were a little too mean.
I did patch it some alternate control feels in an update (see other comments here) - obviously not much use if you've finished already, mind you, and not sure if either of them would particularly feel better for everyone.
Oh nice! Thanks for pointing that out. I should have read those comments haha. Not sure how I missed the updated game file I’ll play through some levels again with the different controls.
This game is great! My new pick up and play game :) One request, could there be an option to use absolute position of the crank for rotating? I find the current system a little hard to line up the turntables and it’s the biggest source of frustration.
That's an interesting thought. I'd originally rigged it up as being relative for a couple of reasons - firstly, it meant that the player wouldn't have to worry about repositioning the crank between stages and messing up the initial turntable points, and secondly (and probably more importantly in my initial thinking), one of the thoughts I had early on was around having some stages where the turntables would rotate at differing speeds (basically turning at either double or half the speed of the standard ones). That said, I figured that the game was mean enough already without that, so I didn't actually do that in the end.
I've updated the uploaded build to have a three-way Crank Mode toggle on the title screen - just tap left to toggle between the three modes. The three settings there are Standard (the current relative system), Absolute, and Half Absolute. It does... interesting things to the difficultly. I suspect Half Absolute, where a full rotation of the crank rotates the turntables half-way, might be the mode to go for given the range of rotation you need to worry about - standard Absolute is way, way too twitchy. I suspect this'll probably make certain stages way easier, but given how nasty a few of the stages are, that's probably fine.
Thanks for the update ( and the insight to the design ). This feels much better to me :)
Just downloaded and sideloaded.......
Give me a couple of days with it and I'll give you my thoughts.
But the screenshots and your info make it look very good .....
Very good puzzle game. Gets tough after first few level's..... Well done....... Stuff like this is what the playdate was made for !!!!!!