• Review: Puddle

    Posted by Mike Yawney on February 12th, 2012 View Comments

    The Xbox Live Marketplace and PSN are quickly becoming my ‘go to’ place to find the little gems of the gaming world. Independent game developers are proving you don’t need to spend millions of dollars to come up with an interesting, fun concept for games. Take Puddle for instance. Two years ago six French students entered their simple physics puzzle game into GDC’s Independent Game Festival. It took home top prize in the Student Showcase category. Now Konami is bringing this addictive physics platformer to home consoles.

    At first glance Puddle appears to be a very simple concept; guide a puddle of fluid through the environment to reach a goal. You don’t move the actual blob of fluid, rather you tilt the screen and let gravity move the fluid for you. On the Xbox you will use the RT and LT buttons to shift the screen while on the Playstation you’ll take advantage of SixAxis motion control.

    As you progress through the levels both the type of fluid and the obstacles change. Water, fertilizer, nitroglycerin, blood and even urine will be controlled at some point. Each fluid will interact with the environment in a different way. Water can boil, fertilizer can eat away at plant obstacles and Nitroglycerin must be handled with care. If it falls from a certain height or hits an object too hard it will explode. Later in the game you will have the chance to control magma which offers some really unique gameplay opportunities. At certain points you’ll have to heat it up so it can travel quickly, but in some areas you’ll have to cool it down so you can create a gelatinous blob tall enough to push levers dangling in the air. Of course if it gets too cold it will solidify and it will seize up. Just when you get used to controlling a certain type of fluid the game moves on and you’re once again trying to figure out the characteristics of a brand new substance.

    Levels are short but very challenging. It’s one thing to complete a level but completing it with a good score is the real challenge. The time it takes you to cross the finish line along with how much fluid you have left in your blob (yes, you can lose some along the way) is taken into account before you receive a ranking. Only those who get gold in each level will qualify for certain achievements and trophies.

    While I loved the complexity of Puddle I will admit it can get somewhat frustrating at times. Certain levels took me at least 25 attempts or more to figure out. Timing is crucial in many levels and if your button press is off by a millisecond it will be game over. Don’t get me wrong, I love a challenge but I truly believe I beat a few levels in Puddle by fluke. Expect a challenge especially near the end of the game.

    If you need a break from the flood of role playing titles that have recently hit shelves, or simply want to kill time before Mass Effect 3 takes over your life or Twisted Metal sends you into multi-player glory then I highly recommend testing your dexterity with Puddle.

    The Good

    Mesmerizing graphics
    Fun gameplay
    Easy controls

    The Bad

    Expect some frustration (especially in the later levels)

    Mike’s Puddle review has been published on the Future Shop blog

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