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Video Game / Happy Wheels

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"Little boy, you okay— OHHH... Oh my... he's not okay, he lost his head. Oh God, what the fuck is wrong with this GAME?"
UberHaxorNova, in his first session out of 201.

A Flash browser game created in 2010 by Jim Bonacci that is like many other racing/driving browser games, except all the characters are Made of Plasticine and ride in vehicles with little to no protection aside from maybe a helmet.

Current List of Characters:

  • Wheelchair Guy: A guy who appears like a stereotypical homeless person, with patched-up clothing, missing teeth, and a beard. He rides in a wheelchair which inexplicably features a rocket booster.
  • Segway Guy: A guy in a suit that rides a segway that has the ability to jump and always stays straight up.
  • Irresponsible Dad: Pictured at right, a man who rides a bicycle with (presumably) his young son riding on the back. Also seems to be the most popular character. Often called "Bike Guy" to fit the Theme Naming of other characters. Can eject his son as an extra effort to get to the goal, or to trigger traps.
  • Effective Shopper: An obese woman who rides an electric shopping cart with her groceries inside. Her weight makes her easy to tip over.
  • Moped Couple: Largely based on Amélie and Nino from the French film Amélie, the couple consists of a man riding a moped with his girlfriend/wife riding behind him. The moped features a speed boost that briefly increases the speed by a lot, but of course not as much as Wheelchair Guy's rocket.
  • Lawnmower Man: A black man riding a mower. Anything that gets run over gets shredded and swallowed up by the blades. Probably the most violent character so far.
  • Explorer Guy: Largely based on Indiana Jones, he rides a heavy mine cart. Can link up and ride on rails by holding the space bar.
  • Santa Claus: Sits on a sleigh, pulled by two elves. The first character with three people and without wheels. Can fly by holding the space bar.
  • Pogostick Man: A man riding a pogostick wearing kneepads and elbowpads. Can jump higher and farther by pressing or holding the space bar. Voiced by UberHaxorNova.
  • Irresponsible Mom: A mother who, similar to Irresponsible Dad, rides a bicycle with her children, but this time, one child is in a basket at the front, while the second is in a extension of the bicycle that's easy to break off...
  • Helicopter Man: An obese man in a personal helicopter. There is a magnet (turned on and off with the space bar, moved up and down with Shift and Ctrl) between the landing struts that can be used to pick up objects, including other characters.

In 2016, the game also got an Animated Adaptation called Happy Wheels: The Series. You can watch the trailer here.

Happy Wheels provides examples of:

  • Anal Probing: The "Probing Bay" in The Astro Avenger.
  • Annoying Arrows: Crossbow turrets will track and fire arrows at your character, but they aren't that lethal unless they hit in the head. Enough of them gathered in one place can turn your character into a human pincushion
  • Anyone Can Die: That is, if you let them die.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Several user-created levels that focus on killing NPC characters feature very harmless offenses mixed in with serious ones.
  • Art Evolution: Version 1.6 added realistic gore to the mix, making the blood look like liquid instead of confetti.
  • Artifact Title: The title is close to becoming this with the addition of three characters on vehicles that don't have wheels.
  • Automatic Level: Any level with "Don't Move" in the title.
  • Bad Santa: Santa whips two hapless elves so they pull his sleigh. He even laughs (with his well-known "Ho ho ho!") when an elf gets smashed into bloody paste by the sleigh!
  • Big "OMG!":
    • Irresponsible Dad and Moped Girl will cry out "Oh God!" whenever he or she gets split in half.
    • Lawnmower Man also says "Oh God!" when one of his legs break, and Pogostick Man also can say this if stabbed by spikes or a blade weapon. Elves also says this if their pelvis breaks.
  • Big "NO!": Pogostick Man will scream "OH NO!" when he loses a leg or ankle. Lawnmower Man and Moped Girl also scream this when they break their pelvis.
  • Bloody Hilarious: If you like that sort of thing.
  • Bloody Horror: Oh goodness, the ways the harpoon runs can disfigure you.
  • Boom, Headshot!: One way to die. There's a sweet spot in each character's head that, if in contact with a blade, will kill you instantly.
  • Bowdlerise: Update 1.06 of the iPhone version disabled damage towards children so the game could remain in the store. Every adult character remains just as breakable as ever.
  • Bumbling Dad: The 'Irresponsible Dad drives a bicycle with his son into the courses filled with deadly obstacles, with predictable results. Even when his son is killed, he just says "Damn it!" in mildy annoyed fashion.
  • Butt-Monkey: The Irresponsible Dad's son (and occasionally the woman on the moped, Santa's elves, and the children of Irresponsible Mom) are often viewed as targets to abuse for hilarity, or merely to set off traps which may kill the main character. The son, for example, can go flying quite far and is great for disarming harpoon traps.
  • Checkpoint Starvation: There's no "checkpoint" item in the level editor, so if you die or screw up, you go all the way back to the beginning. This can be particularly frustrating in boss rush or marathon-type levels. Thankfully some creators manage to avert this by putting in alternate paths at the beginning of the stage that say something along the lines of "go here after you've got checkpoint 1."
  • Chunky Salsa Rule: You only lose control of your character if they are decapitated or a few seconds after they get ripped in half. Until then, crossing the finish line by any means will count as a success, even if you lose other parts of your body or your vehicle and shimmy down to the finish QWOP-style. In the case of couple characters, this only applies to the driver.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: Wheelchair Guy is the only character with a rocket attached to his vehicle, but it's way less impressive than it sounds. Unfortunately, all forms of thrust on his wheelchair (including the rocket) is below his center of gravity, so you'll most likely be too busy wobbling and keeping balance whenever you attempt to move in order to effectively avoid obstacles and navigate rough terrain. Therefore, he's suited for advanced players. But if mastered, you can fly through entire levels at your leisure.
  • Cool Helmet: The dad's helmet has been shown in some levels to protect against items such as meteorites.
  • Critical Existence Failure:
    • As long as your head's still attached to your body or you're not split in half and part of your body's still steering the vehicle, you can keep going!
    • However, the more mass you lose (whether through loss of limbs or passengers), the more unstable you are! If Irresponsible Dad loses both his arms, he's still able to pedal, but he's not gonna make any big jumps or loops anytime soon.
  • Dead Foot Lead Foot: Some of the powered vehicles like the Wheelchair Guy's jet engines and the Effective Shopper's electric cart will keep running at full power if the operator is killed while accelerating.
  • The Determinator: All of the characters will keep going even after losing several body parts.
  • Difficult, but Awesome:
    • The Pogo Stick guy. His controls are very hard to deal with, and getting him to go where you want him to is a bit of a chore sometimes. However, he is one of only two characters that can actually jump with no outside influence, and he is surprisingly durable while on the pogo stick, especially considering how everyone else is Made of Plasticine.
    • With sufficient practice, it is possible for Wheelchair Guy to fly. Until Santa and Helicopter Man were added, he was the only character able to do so, and Wheelchair Guy's smaller and therefore more maneuverable than the other two.
  • Epic Fail: It's possible to die right at the start of the level. Even if there's no trap there, if you tip you can fall and break your head off. In extension of that, you can break your legs by falling two feet. If you try really hard to press the gas pedal before starting the engine on a car, you can RIP YOURSELF IN HALF instead.
  • Expy:
    • The Moped Couple are extremely similar to Amélie and Nino from Amélie. They even have same hairstyles.
    • The Explorer Guy is based on the titular character of Indiana Jones, from his clothing to his iconic fedora.
  • Fake Difficulty: Since there's no boundaries to how unfair a user-made level can be, this usually tends to happen as a result. Hastily crafted 99% Impossible levels are especially notorious for this example.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Given that the maps are all user-generated, you will inevitably run into a map where something just does not work as it is supposed to.
  • Gorn: The game shows violent injuries and deathes of your player characters regularly, like arms and legs are ripped off, or heads explode.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Another way to die. Keep in mind after being split, you still have a few seconds of consciousness left before perishing. If you're lucky, you can reach the goal before then and still have it count.
  • Handicapped Badass: Subverted with Wheelchair Guy, who has just as much functionality of his legs as all of the other characters.
  • Helicopter Blender: The spinning blades of Helicopter Man's helicopter can easily tear apart anyone they touch. Including Helicopter Man himself.
  • High-Pressure Blood: Any injury will spew forth a small fountain of blood, which will spray out around a dozen gallons of blood before stopping.
  • Hive Mind: While playing as any of the characters that include two people, you control both, but you only notice it when the passenger is off the vehicle or when the control character is dead.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Due to the way physics work in this game, it's possible for characters to eject from their vehicle... with the latter sometimes winding up crushing its owner to death afterwards! For example, the Lawnmower Man can get shredded by his own mower, the Moped Couple crushed by their very heavy scooter, and the Helicopter Man blended by his propeller.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Can easily be pulled off with pointy obstacles, but they won't be lethal 'till they split you in half or go through your skull.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Played straight only in the iOS version of the game; as of update 1.06, the child characters are now invincible in order to prevent the game's removal from the App Store. (Though the adult characters are not.)
  • Ink-Suit Actor: The Pogostick Man looks like his voice actor Nova without his beard.
  • Instant-Win Condition:
    • One rule always applies here: If your main character touches the goal/collects all of the tokens while alive, you win. Absolutely no other circumstances prevent this.
    • And some levels, depending on how they're made, don't even need your main character to be alive; this mostly shows up in ball throws, where your own severed head can land in the victory slot and trigger a win, as well as "heart donation" levels.
  • Losing Your Head:
    • Inverted, as this is the most common way to lose. As long as your head is attached to your torso, you can control your character and pass the finish line (provided you haven't been split in half and died from that). Note that this applies only to the driver; the vehicle (and passengers for the Irresponsible Dad and Moped Couple) need not be present to win.
    • However, the game can take about a quarter of a second to realize the decapitation has happened, leading to odd situations where you can win immediately after being decapitated.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • 99% impossible levels. There is no strategy to getting pass the harpoons other than being really lucky.
    • Technically averted in the sense that the game has no RNG (except for certain giblets and blood splatters, which only matters after you've died). If you repeat the exact same actions in the same level you will get the exact same results, which is how replays are handled in the game.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Another way to die. If your torso explodes, you're done. And with remarkable attention to detail, including multiple organs, a coil of intestines (Which can hold the two halves of a body together), and multiple slimy chunks of each body part. If a character's body is destroyed completely, the camera follows the heart.
  • Made of Plasticine: You'll notice when playing the game that the characters are way more fragile than what a normal human body should take. You may even find your limbs breaking from something as trivial as accelerating if you're really unlucky.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Every character will exclaim from limbs being torn off, but only for a second, and it is a minor reaction like "Oh, my leg!" Only when you start getting characters torn in half is when you'll start hearing the bloodcurdling screams.
  • Oh, Crap!: The Helicopter Guy's reaction when the helicopter's rotating rotor blades get destroyed.
  • Ow, My Body Part!:
    • Wheelchair Guy will exclaim about his leg, should it get injured. Same goes with Pogostick Man's arm and foot.
    • The Helicopter Guy says this word-for-word occasionally.
  • Press Start to Game Over: You can die from accelerating too hard on certain levels.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Winning after being cut in half. You win the level, but you're going to die soon. You can also win the level and then land on your head or slam into a wall, then you explode into a fountain of blood, bones, and guts.
  • Rube Goldberg Machine: Levels of the "Don't Move" or "Heart Donation" type are like this.
  • Running Gag: The owl in The Astro Avenger, Renaissance Ravager, and Prehistoric Pilgrim. Lampshaded several times.
  • Screamer Prank: The trigger tool in the level editor makes these quite possible. In essence, it can trigger a sound effect at a certain volume (there are several bloodcurdling screams available) and any pictures or images you make can be set as well to create the Nightmare Face aspect. Mostly, it's horror-themed levels, but still, when your character touches the invisible trigger in the level, they find themselves unable to move forward until the scream.
  • Sickening "Crunch!": Oh yes, the characters' limbs do squish and snap as they are torn off.
  • Soft Glass: Averted, most of the time. Thin glass smashes into harmless bits, but once the glass reaches a certain thickness, it starts breaking into lethal shards instead, which can very easily impale you through the head or torso.
  • Spikes of Doom: Spikes are common obstacles in many levels. They'll impale any character and often stop their movement.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman:
    • The Space Bar Ability of the Explorer Guy, the ability to attach to rails, can only be used if rails are made available and under no other circumstances. In all other instances he's slow, clumsy, top-heavy, and thoroughly useless.
    • Explorer Guy, at the very least, is relatively fast and on wheels. Pogostick Man, on the other hand, has to hop everywhere, and moves about as fast as one might expect, rendering many levels completely impossible for him to overcome. His jumping skills, however, are rivaled only by Wheelchair Guy's rocket, allowing him to scale large heights and skip entire portions of certain levels.
  • This Way to Certain Death: In the beginning of the Haunted Mansion 2, the massacred corpses of past visitors can be seen lying on the ground.
  • Too Dumb to Live: In Renaissance Ravager, the guy who sticks his head in the guillotine that clearly says "DO NOT TOUCH GUILLOTINE".
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • The Irresponsible Dad. There is even a popular kind of level where the dad is required to slam dunk the child like a basketball.
    • Some levels feature harpoons which target the character and may kill them. Fortunately, they will target the child if you throw him in the way of them.
    • This is taken absurd levels in some user-created levels. Examples include the "Harpoon Run", where your character will look like a Pin Cushion, assuming they even make it to the end, and It Keeps Happening, which is basically just a long stretch of stairs with a booster at the end; even if you try to bypass the stairs and go flying, your character will eventually land...and explode into a mess of bodyparts and gore. And of course, the Lawnmower Man. Anything he runs over will be cut up. That includes people.
    • In the mobile version, it's Averted at least for child characters. They can still activate harpoons, but child characters are immortal in every manner. They also cannot scream in pain.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Your Head A-Splode: A decent hit to the head will cause it to explode gloriously.


Video Example(s):


Part Of Our Heritage

When asked why there's a giant buzz saw in the middle of the local park in the town of Happy Wheels, Wheelchair Guy gives the reason that it's always been there, before promptly demonstrating why it really shouldn't be.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / AppealToTradition

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