HeliCrane is a side-scrolling action puzzle game that puts you behind the controls of a variety of helicopters. The game uses cartoonish hard drawn graphics for everything. The backgrounds are interesting. The vehicles in the game have a good level of detail with smooth animations. A jazz-like score plays in the background while you are playing. The sound effects are very good and keep you in the game.
Your goal in HeliCrane is to provide assistance to ground vehicles with your helicopter. You start in the air and have a few controls. The arrow keys operate as expected moving your helicopter in the direction you press. You are free to climb, dive, go forward and go backwards. The controls are responsive although your helicopter is a little sluggish until you get used to the controls.
The special ability your helicopter has is a deployable crane. You do this by pressing the spacebar. Hitting the spacebar will lower a crane on a cable. You can use this to grab items that are on the ground immediately below. Your helicopter can then lift the item off the ground. This is what provides that main challenge in the game.
You start each level by selecting the type of helicopter you want to fly. It is possible to upgrade to helicopters that can fly higher and faster by collecting coins on each level. You start on the level hovering in your helicopter above a truck or other ground vehicle. There is a small map along the top of the screen showing you the position of your helicopter, the ground vehicle and any obstacles. This is very helpful since you need to be aware of all these factors to beat the level.
Your job is to go ahead of the truck and use your crane to lift up and remove obstacles like rocks or barricades. The truck on the ground moves at a steady pace from the start to the end of the level. If the vehicle runs into any obstacles, then it is immediately destroyed and you have to start over. This becomes very challenging because you need to find somewhere to put the obstacles you lift up before the truck runs into another one.
HeliCrane is a very good puzzle game that requires a surprising level of strategy for such a simple concept. The levels do get more complex. They eventually start incorporating additional things you can do with the obstacles like dropping them on buttons.
HeliCrane is a fun game that is well worth playing.