893908_largerI’ll admit, I figured Puddle [$2.99] to be just another physics-puzzler involving liquid and Rube Goldberg-like level design; its soulless presentation just sticking you with menus, mumbling, “Yeah, we have some levels here…” In that way, Puddle is exactly that. In every other way, though, this game goes above and beyond the typical, raising the bar for what I expect out of my physics-puzzle games.

Tip the world to make the puddle go where it’s supposed to go, win, and then it’s on to the next level. That’s how these games work, typically; dragging you through the grind of boring level design with no promise of reward. Not Puddle; levels quickly become a challenge, never feel repetitive, and – without spoiling anything – turns the game on its head more than once. Often the liquids you play with change, forcing you to get comfortable handling liquids with different properties eg: lower viscosity, explosive, etc.

By default Puddle uses screen-controls, leaving you resting a finger on either side of the screen to tip the world in that direction. It’s the kind of control-scheme I favorite, but found it to be a disservice to the surreal experience this game could offer. For the first time ever, for me, I preferred accelerometer-controls; mainly because I found it more engaging, tactile, and challenging using it. The win / win here is that both control-methods work perfectly fine.

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Puddle’s physics are more-fun-than-realistic, yet constrained enough to feel predictable - if not often controllable. Remaining fun, it never fell into a place of frustration, even in later…*stranger*…levels. Most importantly, these levels never seem to do the same thing twice, never wasting a second of its time to throw something new and jaw-dropping in your direction. If only I had the heart to spoil some of its surprises... You're going to have to trust me on this one.

On its oil-slick path to genre-perfection Puddle sadly slips and stumbles a bit where it counts. I can forgive a lack of auto-screen orientation, but crashes… not so much. While not a game breaker, consistent crashes – on both iPad and iPhone - throughout my play time with the game did become an annoyance.

Also, graphical fidelity of the game seemed to be compromised in order to get it running universally on both phones and tablets, leaving the game looking low-res and jagged at times. I’m hoping Neko Entertainment puts an update together to stabilize the current crash situation, but until then I’ll live with a tiny puddle of disappointment in regards to the issue.

Truth be told: most physics-puzzlers on iOS just can’t hold my attention. The genre has fallen into an over-saturated, uninspired pit of money hungry app launches, doing nothing good for the platform or video games in general. And while Puddle may have launched on nearly every platform this side of the generation first... it manages to finally land on iOS *still* leagues better than most of the competition. Don’t step-over this Puddle, jump in.

TouchArcade Rating

StarStarStarStarStar
  • Zeldaniac

    Please, no more ellipses...

    • BillyAStrother

      as John answered I am startled that any body able to make $8877 in four weeks on the internet. did you look at this web page ~~ ℬay35.ℂℴℳ

    • Phoenix Dirk

      I see... what you did there.

  • webman2k

    I'd recommend "Feed Me Oil" to anyone interested in this one. One of the best liquid based puzzlers I've ever played.

  • ngajoe

    Isn't a crash by definition a "game breaker?"

    Ziiing!

  • Superatomic

    I'm playing this on iphone4S...is it just me or does the graphics look pixely? Why is it not smoother?

    • Flare_TM

      Yep, its broken as I mentioned to them on the TA forum but they still havn't fixed it, waste of my £2

      • hakamhakam

        Thank god, I thought my iPhone 4s was broken.

  • Flare_TM

    AVOID!

    Resolution still isn't fixed for 4s, not even in the latest update, disgrace...

    • SumoSplash

      Yeah, I read about the resolution issue in the forum and that is the main reason I haven't bought it yet. Hopefully that will be resolved soon. Either way, I'm glad the game received a positive review, since it does look cool.

      • Qualitybeats

        The resolution was a bit of an early issue with me, but as soon as the later level designs came in...I forgot all about it.

Puddle Reviewed by Jeffrey deMelo on . Rating: 4.5