• WingNuts: Temporal Navigator


  • Arcade


  • Freeverse Software


  • Freeverse Software

Release Date:

  • April 7, 2003


  • Windows, Mac

On Wikipedia:

This is another one of those "time and place" reviews (originally written April 2, 2017), with the actual review buried down below. The full cover was from my collection (I reached out out to one of the game's developers). There are a few things I did change in the review, changing a link to the Houston page. As for the second level music the Windows version kicks in several levels later (before Level 9, though). Still, between its increasing obsolescence, I do hope that it's next on the Jorio Ports list after he finishes up with Pangea Software.

In case I haven't mentioned it, I love travel, and that's why I'm depressed that I live in my own hometown with not even a big interview chance in sight (I work part-time, though not at minimum wage). A lot of the travel aspect intertwines with video games somehow, especially video games someone else's house. This is especially true of the Apple IIGS classics like World Games which I have yet to cover here, which were associated with my grandfather's house in Waco. Super Mario RPG represented Baton Rouge, and for Houston, well, there was that one time that I associate with it.

This is also why I wanted to create another one of my non-video game projects, Carbon-izer Presents the Northwest Freeway, which, when complete, is a comprehensive directory describing one of the main freeways (the "spokes") heading all the way out to Hempstead, Texas. It had to do with a summer that didn't work out like I wanted to and a weekend during a school year no less that really stuck with me. The details of said 2005 trip I wrote on my old blog, Two Way Roads, but then took out. I know my brother also wrote about the trip on his blog which he also took out probably for the same reasons I did. The road trip in 2005 was also the same one referred to in my SimCity 4 review.

Unfortunately, while Mac magazines reviewed it favorably (unfortunately, I don't have any proof of that as of this writing—I actually went looking for MacAddict's review and they either never reviewed it or never posted it online), the mainstream press was less than favorable with one particularly biased reviewer giving it 2.2/10 and two other "community" reviews averaging 4.4. No one said that game reviews were particularly balanced...at least we have assurance that it wasn't a paid review. Such is the plight of Mac games. Very few, even today, really appreciate the Mac as a gaming computer in the 1990s. Sure it didn't have as many titles as the PC (or the consoles) but it was a superior system in the games it did get. Soundtracks of Mac games were usually a bit strange--they were actually sound effects (sometimes licensed instruments of SoundBlaster) played at different pitches. It wasn't quite as crisp as a real SoundBlaster but you didn't need to buy expensive audio equipment to have your game music sound like metallic chirps and wheezes.

The music for WingNuts came at a time when MP3s were starting to come into their own, meaning you can have CD quality music easily for anything (without needing a CD player). While I do have a copy of the boxed game with Windows and Mac versions (the Mac version is commonly available online and got upgrades, including adding cheats...but there's no ranking for cheaters) the Windows version playing on modern computers works fine though I've found an unfortunate bug that seemed to happen in later revisions of Mac OS X...the "second level" music doesn't work properly (including on re-loading files, at least on the Windows version). I know it worked on Mac but I don't know if it worked on Windows, and I have no idea how to troubleshoot it. I wish I could make some sort of fan-made patch for it.

The "second level" music as I recall is supposed to kick in at Level 3, but neither the later Mac OS versions nor Windows seem to do that. I know that the revisions of (Mac) OS X definitely broke it but I'm not sure if Windows and QuickTime Alternative (which I'm using to run the program on Windows) has the same problem. I tried installing the version of QuickTime that came with the program, no dice! It should've been working by Level 4 I know, and by the time the Mac OS (or maybe QuickTime) broke it, Freeverse no longer supported the product. Right now, trying to get that to work is my number one perogative in saving this game, and I don't know how it's supposed to work. Maybe, it was always supposed to kick in later, and not at Level 3 (30 levels after all, and only about 5 levels between them). But I don't recall being that good at it. Maybe that is right, and my memory is just failing me, just like the "tattered billboard" on that same trip that I swear I saw on the South Beltway (long story).

I tried using cheats on the Mac version (on 10.5) to blow through levels quickly. Nope! Turns out, I got to Level 9 without no change in music, as I had tried to do after the upgrade at some point in the past. I tried asking on VOGONS about de-bugging QuickTime usage (after all, that's the common thread between the two versions).

Shoot the planes and not the parachutes.

Regardless of the music error, the game itself is a great arcade title (though without the music it's a little weary to keep progressing) in and of itself. But that's okay, because I don't need to talk about it. I'd be a terrible game reviewer in reality because the less I have to say about a game itself, the better it is. I really liked Batman: Arkham Asylum and really don't have much to say for the game except some disappointments (which I really didn't elaborate on), or Super Metroid (another example). The longer reviews come if I really had an axe to grind or if I had a lot of history with it, like, say, the aforementioned SimCity 4 review.

A couple of other things to note is that it appears Windows only got 1.0 while Mac got several updates, with bug fixes and even cheats (which you can find elsewhere...), but there is no ranking for cheaters. Speaking of "no ranking for cheaters", I did come across this string while rooting around in the game's files to see if I could do anything about the music issue. There was a string that was supposed to appear when you beat the game: It doesn't quite compare with those other honors, but in appreciation of your great victory, Freeverse hereby awards you a $5 coupon towards your purchase of Burning Monkey Puzzle Lab! Just mention the secret code "WingNutsAce!" when you order. It's useless now, of course, but I do wonder how many people got discounted copies by snooping around the resource files.