Developer: Neko Entertainment
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.2
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Previously available on mostly every other format one cares to think of, Puddle is a rather clever and stylish physics-puzzler. Like many of the best, it’s simple to understand but turns fiendishly tricky at times.

puddle5All the player has to do is direct various puddles of fluid from the start to the finish of each level. It sounds so easy, right? Wrong. Each puddle is a different kind of liquid. At first, it might just be coffee, offering no particular special talent and proving very easy to direct. Soon, everything from easily evaporated water to acid that eats through stuff and explosive nitro-glycerin plays a valuable role here. In each case, different precautions must be taken. Water must be channeled past heat sources quickly, so that it doesn’t evaporate. Nitro-glycerin must be dealt with very carefully given that speed can cause huge problems, while the acid’s eating properties can be used to the player’s advantage.

It’s a pretty neat mechanic, and quite imaginative. In a strange kind of sense it’s probably even quite educational for kids learning about the various properties of different liquids. It does turn pretty tough, though.

For instance, if the liquid falls behind on screen, it’s lost forever, making high-speed levels quite a tricky process. There’s a certain margin for error, but it’s amazing how quickly that can evaporate, much like water under a heat source. A form of boss encounter is also featured, offering slightly different objectives set to a strict time limit.

puddle1Controls are pretty flexible, offering the choice of tapping or using the accelerometer. While the latter might seem cooler, I found tapping carefully on either side of the screen slightly more effective, if less satisfying.

Puddle isn’t for the faint-hearted, given its steadily increasing difficulty curve (even despite the presence of some skip power-ups). Underneath that simple structure, however, is a quite captivating experience, albeit one that will take a while for most average players to reach the conclusion of. Something that’s no bad thing at all.

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