peculiarcar.pngJoão Brant emailed to tip us off about his Ludum Dare 26 competition entry, My Peculiar Car. The name didn't grab me, but the game certainly did. My Peculiar Car is an extremely clever little puzzle-driving game (is that a genre?) The central mechanic is one I've never seen before: Using the arrow keys (or WASD), you control the steering and the gear shifting at the same time. Can you get to the city fast enough to save your best friend?

There is a constant balance between steering to avoid cacti while changing gears to keep your speed up. Shifting gears is accomplished via a small display at the bottom of the screen, where you must guide your gearstick through a tiny maze of increasing complexity. When you move the stick left or right, you steer your peculiar car into another lane--one that is possibly occupied by a cactus. And if you can't move your stick, you can't steer in that direction, either. The need to split your focus between the road and the gearbox creates an exciting tension.

This game is a great example of giving positive feedback to the player: jazzy saxophone riffs play each time you successfully shift gears. Do it fast enough and you've got a sweet sax solo.

I'd love to see this expanded into an Outrun-style game with checkpoints, branching paths, and new locations. For now, it is a delectable gaming snack. You can play My Peculiar Car in your browser.