Puddle [Review]

Cathy Rouleau
Staff Writer
 
February 28th, 2014

Puddle

Puddle is a physics based puzzle-platformer that definitely speaks to my inner science geek. The goal of this game is to take various fluids and navigate them through an obstacle course. And by the way, you can only control them by tilting the screen left or right.
The game is broken down into worlds: Nursery (as in plants), Lab, Human body, and Rocket to just name a few.  The fluids you have to work with will be relative to the environment.  For example, in the Nursery you will have to move weed killer or fertilizer to the end. Now it isn’t as simple as just tilting the screen and watching the puddle slide to the exit.  Of course, there are many obstacles along the way.

Based on the physical properties of whatever fluid you currently are in control of, it will work differently.  For example, water will move faster than say organic residue.  Also water evaporates when it is in contact with fire, and nitroglycerin will explode if you don’t handle it right.  So you have to carefully control your fluid as you navigate through the maze and try to keep as much of the fluid as possible.  If you lose too much of the fluid you might have to start over because there is a required minimum amount of fluid that needs to get to the end.

Even the scoring for this game is scientific.  The way it works is the amount of fluid you save that exceeds the minimum needed to complete the level is multiplied by a bonus factor (which is different for each fluid).  This number is then subtracted from the time you used to complete the level to give you a final time.  This final time is then plotted out on a graph which will then tell you which metal you won for that level: Au, Ag, or Cu. Yeah, they use the elemental abbreviations for the medals.

By getting gold medals you unlock features you can use in the laboratory.  This is like a little sandbox where you can create your own background for the menu screen. You can change to back drop, fluid, music, and add miscellaneous objects like a rubber duck or a conveyor belt to create your own little wacky screen.

Puddle

The levels start off pretty easy, but get progressively harder. Luckily they were smart enough to put in whines; a function that allows you to skip a level.  You get a total of four whines to use for the whole game.  Then when you run out of them you have to go back and complete one of the levels you whined over to get that whine again and use it for another level.

There are definitely some very challenging levels in this game.  The ones I liked the least were the ones with zero gravity.  In those levels you have zero control over the fluid; it is all about controlling the spin-able platforms.  So it is very easy to tilt too much in one direction and end up sending the fluid into electricity (which in these levels destroy the fluid), or to not hit it hard enough with one of the platforms; causing it to float around and you are unable to do anything but restart the level — just like in foosball when the ball goes where no one can reach it.

There are also a handful of levels in which you don’t actually control the puddle of fluid, but instead a container holding the fluid.  In these cases you just must keep all the fluid in the container.  However the controls are not sensitive enough to really control the movement of the container, making these levels some of the more challenging ones.

Of all the worlds I think the human body one was coolest.  In these levels you are looking at and x-ray version of human body, as well as inside blood vessels.  Even though it might not be 100% anatomically correct, it was still very cool to look at.  It was in these levels that I felt the graphics shined through.  Overall, the graphics for this game are very well done and pretty to look at.

Being the science geek that I am, I loved this game.  Sure, there are some pretty challenging levels, but if they weren’t there the game would be too easy.  The only thing I would change would be to make the controls a little more sensitive, but as it stands the controls are currently more realistic; which is ultimately what Neko Entertainment was going for.  I would say if you like science and challenging puzzle games I would recommend buying Puddle.

Kung Fu Rabbit
Bulkypix
Score
4.3\5
Visuals
5
The graphics are great in this game. You don't really realize it until you get to the human body levels, though. In these levels it really truly looks like you are looking at an x-ray. The whole game looks very realistic, though; even down to the fluid's look and the way it acts.
Sound
3.5
All the sounds match up perfectly with the graphics and the music fits really well, but are just average.
Controls
4
I felt the controls should be a little more sensitive, but understand they are going for the real life feel.
Game Play
4
All the levels are different. Some of the same concepts repeat, but each level is like a new puzzle you will not see any repeats. Some levels can be pretty damn challenging but if they weren't the game would be too easy, I think its a good balance. I wish there were a few more worlds and levels; it felt kind of short. I wanted to play more but I guess I'll just have to settle with clear those levels I skipped.
Fun
5
What can I say? I'm a science geek and I love how this game follows real science. I could really see kids playing this game and having fun and unknowingly learning science.

META

Cathy enjoys playing video games to relax/escape from a long day. She really likes puzzle games as well as games that have a strong female lead. She is also kind of a poor gamer (as in money), so she tends to pick her games carefully. That way she can get the maximum fun for the cheapest cost.

Specialty: Platformers