REVIEW – Puddle (Wii U)
A review by Greg Dabkey
Puddle… again? Well you probably read Jeremy’s review of the game, how about a second opinion? Does it mean that this review will leave it as a small puddle of liquid, or is it really something much larger like a lake? Let’s take a second look!
Gameplay & Controls
The gameplay is very straight forward. You control a puddle of water named.. no wait that’s Fluidity. This puddle has no name and it is is not always water either. The first level you are a puddle of coffee, and eventually become water within the first world. Then in the second world you become a fertilizer liquid and basically a weed killer type of liquid gain the ability melt away plants. This makes the gameplay unique between levels as you control a different liquid in each world. The basic objective is to complete the level with as much liquid as possible and as quickly as possible. You can get a copper, silver or gold rating if you complete the level within a particular range with as much liquid as possible. The gauge in the upper left corner helps display the amount of liquid remaining.
To play this game, there are only 3 control methods to choose from. First you can use the standard controls which is just using ZR and ZL to tilt the level to maneuver around. Second you can use the left control stick, or finally you can use the GamePad’s gyro sensor and just tilt the controller. I personally enjoyed using the ZL and ZR best as it was simple and very effective. One of the drawbacks that I found is that you cannot easily keep the liquid together. This adds a solid difficulty setting especially when the liquid becomes more slippery in the more advanced worlds. So by the second world the difficulty is already been spiked a little, with each world after getting harder and harder.
One of the best features of the game is the online ranking system with other players. You can compare with other players around the world, or you can simply compare to friend’s list. This makes it fun to go out and beat your friend’s times and number of gold medals they earned. Here’s a video of the first world of six levels:
Graphics & Sound
The graphics and sounds are very top notch. I thought that the themes of each level contained a nice change of pace for each environment. While each world has a theme, each level design is still different and I thought that the variety really added a nice touch to the game. All of the graphics were fresh and crisp within each level, and while parts of the background were blurry, it added that nice sense of dimension to the game as you really need to concentrate on the puddle and where you are travelling.
While the music wasn’t anything special, it also wasn’t particular horrible either. The major thing I enjoyed was the sound effect of the liquid splashing around on each level, along with the effect of being poured out at the beginning and ending with the dropping into the exit container. There is just something about listening to the effects of water that is always very pleasing to the ear.
Finally, this game does support off-TV play and that was definitely my preferred method of playing. It was nice to be able to see the level up close on the GamePad to be able to see where the majority of the puddle was headed. The TV showed identical visuals as the GamePad so there was nothing to be missed when concentrating on a single screen. Obviously the visuals on the GamePad were not as visually appealing as my TV (in 1080p), but that is the fault of the controller, and not of the game.
Final Score: 8.5 out of 10
While Puddle is a different take on the liquid genre, it certainly exceeds expectations in most areas. The difficulty is one of the major concerns and may turn off some casual players thinking that this was an easier game. Another concern is the camera when your liquid is separated as you can no longer see where other parts of the liquid is within the level as the camera follows the leading ‘mass’ of the liquid. This game does excel with the variations of gameplay, simple controls, and even the graphics and sound. This game is also very good value as there are almost 50 different levels to play, and with the game having some replay value it can offer numerous hours of fun but challenging experience. I would recommend this game to those seeking a good challenge and those that enjoy competing for the best record with friends and other gamers.
Some levels from world 2, but also some major failures: