Water based puzzle games are a slippery lot. Nearly all of them have the same premise, but more often than not, trying to wrangle up some H20 is undeniably enjoyable. Feed Me Oil 2 [$0.99] is basically the same premise, but it just changes out water for a darker, less healthy substance. Not a whole lot has changed since the original Feed Me Oil [$0.99], but the sequel is fun enough to warrant another purchase from fans.
As a combination of The Incredible Machine and various water puzzle games, your task is to set up a number of gadgets and fill a certain "goal" area with oil. You'll use objects as basic as lines and as advanced as wind power to achieve each task, and each time, exact placement matters. The touch based controls work perfectly, as all you have to do to select and place a tool is touch it, slide it in place, and slide to rotate it -- that's it. If you want to put a specific piece in any area you wish, that's all you need to do, without any sort of fuss involved. Once everything is set, you just hit the oil source and let it rip.
Should anything go wrong (and I mean anything, no matter how menial) after the oil starts flowing, you just tap anywhere on the screen to cancel that "round" so to speak. There's no lengthy "you failed" screen -- no hesitation in-between setups -- you just touch and go. It's an extremely useful design choice that lets you get back into the fray in seconds flat without getting bored.
The good and bad news regarding Feed Me Oil 2 is that it's not all that difficult. Even a moderate amount of trial and error will get you through nearly every stage (of which there are 60), and you shouldn't feel "stuck" at pretty much any point through the campaign. There is a typical "three star" rating system to encourage you to get better at the game, but any puzzle fan should be able to coast there way through the game regardless without too much effort. In that sense, it's not really challenging, but it's relaxing nonetheless. Updates with trickier solutions and more tools would really go a long way here.
The old cartoon-esque veneer of the first game is completely gone, and is instead replaced with updated sleek visuals. While I'm personally a fan of the quirky original style, I also heartily enjoyed the new HD sheen, as the attention to detail is pretty insane in Feed Me Oil 2. It looks even better on an iPad, and you can even see some crazy nuances like rust and grime in select environments. Each level has a new "creature" as well, like mechanical fish and creepy leering foxes. Every stage you're waiting to see what's next. Oil 2 has a hidden message built into its lore and achievements, which is a nice touch on top of an already solid game.
There is IAP involved, but thankfully, Chillingo doesn't go overboard this time. You can buy hints and solutions (which are used by way of the top left of the screen), but they're not necessary in any fashion to complete the game. That's right, no "power-ups" that have levels built around them to influence you to spend cash -- just cold hard solutions that you don't need. Unfortunately, you will be constantly asked to link Facebook and accept a nebulous "online privacy" contract before you play.
While Feed Me Oil 2 is wrapped in a rather pretty package, it's still fundamentally the same game as it predecessor, and doesn't push the puzzle genre in any way. Having said that, if you loved the original, this one is a no-brainer.
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