Where's My Water? (iOS, £1.99)
Ever wonder what would happen if an alligator, living deep underground was desperate for a bath, only for another evil alligator to do whatever he could to stop said crocodile from getting one? If not, the solution to this life-enriching question is here.
Where's My Water? is a physics-based puzzler centred around Swampy the Alligator’s attempts to have a bath in peace. An evil alligator has messed with his plumbing and it's your job to help Swampy get clean - by redirecting the water to fill his bath. It's not that easy though - to complete a level you also have to collect three rubber ducks along your path. In every level there is a water source and a pipe leading to Swampy's bathtub. Surrounding the level is dirt which you can draw paths through. In the very first level it's simply a case of drawing a straight line through the dirt. In later levels, what separates the water and the pipe could be anything. Poisoned water and sludge (which Swampy certainly does NOT want to bathe in), mud which dries out, fans, sources of heat which can transform your water into steam... the possibilities are many. It's not just a case of getting A to B - you have to think about how to collect the three rubber ducks along the way.
So how does it play? Firstly, and importantly, the physics that come into play are extremely good. The water acts as water should. It sloshes around, it drips, it dries out in certain conditions, it spills out through pesky holes. The game is also really responsive. When you draw a path in the dirt, the path appears as you draw it. That sounds simplistic I know, but in the later levels certain puzzles rely on you drawing a path for the water at EXACTLY the right moment. The colours and animations are vibrant and fun, and there's a few Easter eggs to be found as well. I won't ruin those, but try to tickle Swampy on the title screen and see what happens!
Your money buys you an updated app every month or so with 20 new levels, introducing new elements to get your head around. If you get bored in-between updates however you can purchase expansions within the app. 'Cranky's Story' unlocks levels from the evil point of view, whereby you need to transfer poisoned water to the pipes rather than clean water. Bonus levels can also be unlocked, which involve using your iDevice on a flat surface and tilting the water around a maze to collect ducks.
The only criticism is that sometimes the solution to a level can be very exact. The water must travel down a path upon which there are chasms on each side, and every time you try to draw this path you end up scraping away the dirt at the side as well, leaving the water to fall into this chasm and ruin everything. This is probably solved somewhat on the iPad, but for the iPhone screen, on which it is designed, they really should give you a little bit more leeway. It sounds petty, but when you've spent 3 minutes getting the water exactly where you want it and the path simply gives way, it becomes incredibly tempting to leave a phone shaped mark on the nearest wall.
It's one of those games you can pick up and play to fill those annoying 10 minute gaps you always seem to end up with in the day. It's a game which makes you think in order to complete it and it's very well put together, both visually and aurally. The levels are well designed so as not to be immediately obvious, but sometimes they're a little TOO niggly in places.
Page written by Typhlosion.
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