Thanks all for the comments. It looks my 4K/game programming inexperience has been exposed :-(
Not sure on the key problems. I have all my keyChecks in ProcessEvent(AWTEvent e) method (and I have a Thread.sleep(16) in every loop iteration). Maybe this has different effects on different spec machines. I'll test on a couple of faster computers to check!!.
I played a similar game recently on Kongregate, although that one was a puzzle game (collect stuff without hitting blocks which kill you) rather than an action game (collect stuff before time runs out).
This is where I got the idea from. After reading this thread http://www.java-gaming.org/topics/how-many-good-java-games-exist-right-now/19455/msg/154212/view.html#msg154212
I visited Kongregate and briefly played a game where you rotate the screen and thought it was a cool concept. Cant remember the game however, can you remember the game by any chance? There are 100s of games on here, cant find it.. Wouldnt mind checking it again too see how/if they are similar..
Once over 8 seconds for1 tick? Oh dear.. Its pretty close to 1 tick per second on my laptop (also 1.7GHz)... Will investigate this.. I 'probably incorrectly' assumed that as I had a .sleep(16) in every loop iteration it would run at similar speeds on most specs.. Again am pretty new to this!!
I'll fix the control issues in next version (the walking during falling is one of my known issues).
The different levels where of very different difficulty. I got one in the last second and the level after that i had 10 seconds to spare or something like that.
I'll check this out too.. I tried to put some of medium levels after level 15 and 20-26 quite hard, but I find depending on which way you move initially some levels can be completed in 10secs or can go to the wire by 1 wrong initial move so its pretty hard to determine difficulty.
I tried both directions for the A and D as wasnt sure. I kinda feel comfortable with this rotation myself but could easily change this..
I'll probably post my code in a couple of days if I can't fix the keyboard issues, am sure the more experienced guys out there will spot the problems in a glance :-)