A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
In the sarcastically titled HAPPY WHEELS, you have to ride a Segway, bicycle, or other vehicle through a sadistic obstacle course full of jumps, elevators, moving platforms, spinning spiked wheels, and other death traps. If you miss, you'll die or get maimed. Hit a land mine, for instance, and pieces of you and your blood will splatter everywhere. You can choose from a growing variety of characters, including Business Guy, Irresponsible Dad, and Wheelchair Guy (coming soon at time of review). Irresponsible Dad has a child in a bicycle seat, and the kid can get hurt in all the same ways as the adult character. Pop-up and banner ads are frequent, but users can make an in-app purchase to eliminate them.
Is it any good?
Though covered in blood and gore, this dark and tricky physics-based puzzling arcade game is funny for some and horrifying for others. Though the violence is over-the-top on purpose and meant to appeal to a certain kind of humor, it's pretty intense. The use of kids and a man in a wheelchair only ups the ante. The volume of ads is also a potential deal breaker. Small ads appear when you die, and full-screen video ads pop up between every level. You can get rid of them for $1.99, but it may not be the kind of game you want to pay for. Still, despite the persistent ads and the cartoonish gore, if you're a mentally stable adult with a dark sense of humor and a penchant for puzzling arcade games, Happy Wheels will challenge your reflexes and problem-solving skills. However, it's definitely not an app for most kids and probably best for teens and adults.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games and apps like Happy Wheels. Though it's a silly game and there's no person-to-person violence, can the graphic injuries still affect the player? How do you feel when you play it?
Talk about different types of humor. Some people play this app because they think it's funny. Do you? Why, or why not?
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free (optional in-app purchase to remove pop-up ads)
- Release date: September 29, 2016
- Category: Arcade Games
- Size: 37.40 MB
- Publisher: Jim Bonacci
- Version: 1.0.5
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 7.0 or later
- Last updated: March 16, 2021
Our editors recommend
For kids who love arcade and strategy apps
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.