App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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Mediocre Games has been gracious enough to give uncertain alien firefighters a taste of what's in store with Sprinkle Free, which they released on the App Store earlier this month. Not only does it give penny-pinchers a way to try before they buy (or possibly try without buying at all), it also features 12 new levels. Of course, those interested in acquiring the full version and its current offering of 60 levels can always do so once they've completed this initial offering.
Human beings are always the real monsters, aren't they? It's a fairly common twist to a story these days (so I suppose it's not that much of a twist anymore), but to an extent I'd still call it a valid assessment. I mean, human kind has been trashing the planet for quite a while now, right? It seems natural to assume that sometime in the future we'll be responsible for upsetting the delicate ecosystem of a planet full of innocent little blob-things simply by driving an interstellar tour bus too close to their atmosphere.
Sprinkle: Water Splashing Fire Fighting Fun! puts players in charge of the blob-planet's seemingly solitary fire engine, and tasks them with (what else?) dousing the blazes started by some careless passersby. Initially this is pretty simple stuff: just point the hose at the fires and press the button to start the water. Adjusting height is as simple as touching and dragging on the nozzle, and angle adjustments by dragging anywhere else on the screen. It isn't until the later half of the first world, and pretty much all of the second, that things get a bit more complicated.
Sprinkle is one of those deceptively complex games. What begins as merely pointing water spouts at fire evolves into some pretty perplexing and downright crazy physics puzzles. Some might require foresight because opening up a path to one blaze might completely block another, and others use timing and a steady aim so that crevices can be blocked so that the water can reach a new area.
If the physics didn't work this could be problematic, but it all comes together surprisingly well and makes for one heck of a fun and addicting game. Having to earn a set number of "drops" or whatever they are in order to access the next level is both maddening and brilliant. It forces me to replay past levels in order to earn a better rank, rather than just be content with my mere 1 drop and be done with it. All-in-all, I wouldn't call that a bad thing.
As much as I enjoy the physics-heavy puzzles, they can be a tad too detailed. What I mean is, sometimes the difference between getting that block in the right place and having to restart (again) boils down to physics-luck. I've also experienced some slowdown during moments with lots of water on screen, which I initially attributed to having downloads in the background, but have since experienced even when nothing else was going on.
It feels like it's over a bit too soon. There is a third area to unlock through an in-app purchase, but I'm not too sure how I feel about paying for a third bonus world right out of the gate. However I can't deny that the other two, with their 22 levels between them, are a complete blast.