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Happy Wheels

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Happy Wheels
Developer(s)Fancy Force
Publisher(s)Fancy Force
Designer(s)Jim Bonacci
Programmer(s)Jim Bonacci
Artist(s)Jim Bonacci
Composer(s)Jack Zankowski
Platform(s)Web browser, iOS, Android
  • Browser
  • June 4, 2010[1]
  • iOS
  • August 20, 2015
  • Android
  • January 25, 2020
Genre(s)Platform, racing

Happy Wheels is a side-scrolling ragdoll physics-based platform browser game developed and published by Fancy Force. Created in 2010 by video game designer Jim Bonacci, the game features several player characters using various and often atypical vehicles to traverse the game's many user-generated levels. The game is best known for its graphic violence and the amount of user-generated content its players produce on a regular basis, with game maps shared on a public server. According to Bonacci, a sequel, which he has been working on since at least 2013,[2][3] is still in development as of December 2020.[4]


Screenshot of gameplay

Happy Wheels' tagline is "Choose your inadequately prepared racer, and ignore severe consequences in your desperate search for victory!"[5] The actual mechanics of gameplay vary because of character choice and level design;[6] the game includes characters such as a dad and his son riding a bike, a businessman on a Segway, a homeless man in a rocket-powered wheelchair, and Santa Claus in a flying elf-pulled sleigh.[7]

The goal of the game also differs depending on the level. In most levels, the goal is to reach a finish line or to collect tokens. Many levels feature alternate or nonexistent goals for the player.[6][8]

Reviewers have noted that Happy Wheels exhibits graphic violence in its gameplay.[5][6][8][9] For instance, characters can be decapitated, shot, or crushed by various obstacles.[9] Loss of limbs and profuse spurts of blood are also graphic elements.[5][6]

Players also have the choice to upload instant replays of their level attempts, which can then be viewed.[6]

Happy Wheels features a level editor, which allows players to create custom levels of their own. It contains a plethora of tools and objects for level building. Users can upload their maps to a public server where they are accessible.[9]


Indie game developer Jim Bonacci, the game's main programmer and artist,[8] began work on the game in 2006.[10] Bonacci has said that his inspiration for the game came from other ragdoll physics-based games in the browser games community,[8] as his friend and former boss, Alec Cove, had made a Verlet physics engine for Adobe Flash.[10] Per Bonacci, "I was messing around with it, and eventually created a guy in a wheelchair that would endlessly fall down a random hill. I thought it was funny and stupid, so I kept expanding on it. It was only meant to be a very small game, but eventually it became my main focus."[10]

The hyper-violent nature of the game was a reaction to Bonacci's frustration with how the consequences of certain actions were not treated realistically in other game titles. Bonacci stated that "it always bothered me when... you'd fall off your vehicle and harmlessly bounce around. In other cases, you would have the same canned animation over and over. I'm not sure if it was a lack of detail or concern on the part of the developer, but the consequences of your in-game actions were often improperly illustrated. For me, half of the fun of playing a game that imitates life (sort of), is making mistakes and seeing the end result."[8]

Bonacci also noted that, because gameplay would often involve the player dying repeatedly, he put a great deal of effort into making that part of the game enjoyable.[8]

The full version of Happy Wheels is only available on Bonacci's original website, totaljerkface.com, Bonaccis other game, Divine Intervention is also available here.[10]

Demo versions of Happy Wheels are licensed to other websites. These demo versions only include a limited number of featured maps and playable characters. There are approximately 5 million user-generated levels. The total count of level plays is over 13 billion.

Currently,[when?] Jason Schymick helps Bonacci work on the game programming, although different people have contributed. "The others who helped are all amazing", says Bonacci.[10][failed verification] Alec Cove joined Fancy Force in 2013 and handles all server-side architecture and development.[11]

On September 30, 2014, Schymick announced that iOS and Android ports of the game have been in development.[12] The iOS version was released as a free download through the App Store on August 20, 2015.[13] For the Android version, Fancy Force began accepting beta test applications in October 2019.[14] Following a beta testing phase, the finished version was released on January 25, 2020.[15]

On January 9, 2020, Bonacci posted on his website that a JavaScript port by Goodboy Digital was in development and the game will continue to function after Adobe Flash ends at the end of 2020.[16] Eleven months later, on December 28, 2020, the JavaScript port was released, continuing the existence of the game after the end of Flash.[4]


Happy Wheels has received generally positive reviews. It was recommended by GameSetWatch[5] and considered one of the "Best Free Games" by IGN.[6] Its level editor and amount of user-generated content have received praise from reviewers.[5][19] The over-the-top nature of the violence is a central theme of the game,[7] and some reviewers have considered it humorous;[6] one review stated that "It is so genuinely difficult to play Happy Wheels and not just laugh and laugh at the ridiculous ways in which your character can be torn into pieces."[9]

Web series[edit]

In November 2016, a 9-episode animated web series based on Happy Wheels premiered on Go90. The series, produced by Machinima, Inc. and Bunim/Murray Productions digital division BMP Digital, is set in the title town, dubbed as "the most dangerous community on Earth" where "people are mangled everyday by traps, spikes, mines, cars, unsafe roads and hazards. But no one seems to notice. To reduce some of the carnage in town, five concerned citizens form a safety awareness committee but often fail with hilarious results."[20]


  1. ^ Bonacci, Jim (June 4, 2010). "Happy Wheels". Totaljerkface.com. Retrieved October 5, 2022.
  2. ^ Bonacci, Jim (August 16, 2013). "I EXIST". Totaljerkface.com. Archived from the original on March 19, 2014. Retrieved December 27, 2023.
  3. ^ Bonacci, Jim (October 25, 2013). "hello". Totaljerkface.com. Archived from the original on March 19, 2014. Retrieved December 27, 2023.
  4. ^ a b Bonacci, Jim (December 28, 2020). "Happy Wheels Javascript is UP". Totaljerkface.com. Archived from the original on January 1, 2021. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d e Caoili, Eric (October 25, 2010). "Happy Wheels: Bloody, 'Severe Consequences'". GameSetWatch. UBM TechWeb. Archived from the original on October 29, 2010. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Meunier, Nathan (June 2, 2011). "Best Free Games - Page 10 of 17". IGN. IGN Entertainment. Archived from the original on March 23, 2013. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
  7. ^ a b Thier, Dave. "Gruesome 'Happy Wheels' Shoots To The Top Of The App Store". Forbes. Archived from the original on 24 January 2021. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Holmes, Kevin (October 28, 2010). "Severed Limbs and Slam-Dunked Toddlers: An Interview With The Creator of "Happy Wheels"". The Creators Project. Vice Media. Archived from the original on July 27, 2013. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
  9. ^ a b c d Chadwick, Gareth (February 1, 2012). "Cheap PC Gaming: Three More Cheap Distractions". TheSixthAxis. Oscar Mike Media. Archived from the original on February 3, 2012. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
  10. ^ a b c d e 456jerkface (March 21, 2012). "Interview: JIM BONACCI". TjfToday. Archived from the original on June 22, 2013. Retrieved October 31, 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ Bonacci, Jim (March 13, 2015). "NEW SITE, YAY". Totaljerkface.com. Fancy Force. Archived from the original on September 26, 2015. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
  12. ^ Schymick, Jason (September 30, 2014). "Happy Wheels iOS In Progress…". Totaljerkface.com. Fancy Force. Archived from the original on October 20, 2015. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
  13. ^ Valentin, Christian (August 20, 2015). "Popular flash game Happy Wheels makes its iOS debut". Pocket Gamer. Archived from the original on December 31, 2019. Retrieved December 31, 2019.
  14. ^ Gregson-Wood, Stephen (October 14, 2019). "Happy Wheels developer Fancy Force is bringing their popular game to Android and you can sign up to be part of the beta now". Pocket Gamer. Archived from the original on December 31, 2019. Retrieved December 31, 2019.
  15. ^ Gregson-Wood, Stephen (January 27, 2020). "Happy Wheels is available now for Android following a brief stint in beta last year". Pocket Gamer. Archived from the original on January 27, 2020. Retrieved January 30, 2020.
  16. ^ Bonacci, Jim (January 9, 2020). "Happy Wheels is not dying". Totaljerkface.com. Archived from the original on October 26, 2020. Retrieved October 28, 2020.
  17. ^ "Happy Wheels for iPhone/iPad Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on October 16, 2015. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  18. ^ "Happy Wheels Review: A Bloody Fun Time". GameZebo. Archived from the original on August 28, 2015. Retrieved August 9, 2020.
  19. ^ Alam, Shafiq (August 4, 2012). "'LittleBigPlanet' Vita dated for September". Hindustan Times. HT Media. Archived from the original on November 18, 2015. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
  20. ^ "Happy Wheels Web Series Launches on go90 Media Platform". Collider. 2016-11-15. Retrieved 2023-07-13.

External links[edit]