Puddle Review

[spoiler name=”Puddle Information”]Developer(s) By: Neko Entertainment
Publisher(s) By: Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc.
Rated: Teen
Release Date: January 25 (XBLA) & January 31 (PSN)
Platform(s): Xbox Live Arcade & PlayStation Network [/spoiler]

Puddle started out as a project by six French students for the 2010 GDC Independent Games Festival. They did very well at GDC allowing Puddle to win, in which it soon became a full Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network game published by Konami. Puddle is a physics based puzzler in which you try to guide the liquid through the obstacles to get to the end of level without spilling too much. Throughout the game you will control several different kinds of liquid, each with their own properties that you must keep in mind while playing. The concept may sound simple enough but trust me; you will need your brain to make it through this one!

You don’t control the puddle directly, rather you have control over the whole screen which will move the liquid depending on the way you tilt the screen. The goal of every level is to get the substance to the end safely and as fast as possible. As you progress the various stages in Puddle, you’ll notice that the game takes it up a notch in difficulty. Not only will you have to worry about getting the liquid to move together, you will need to control the speed of your puddle. Overall the controls work fine except for a few instances when my puddle got separated into several miniature puddles and I lost some of my liquid simply because I couldn’t see it on the screen.

There are several environments in Puddle, ranging from the human body to a forest. The further you get in the game the more challenging the game gets. Luckily, the game allows you to “Whine” twice and move on to the next level. If you’re still having trouble you go back and beat one of the levels you skipped and earn another “Whine” to use on a different level. Puddle even includes boss fights were you will have to do different things such as activating a switch which heats up the place, so you can evaporate the puddle. Another boss fight had me filling up containers with yellow liquid and blue liquid so that in the end it becomes green.

When you finish a stage in Puddle, you will be ranked by not just on how much of your puddle you have left, but also how fast you finished the stage. The rankings are Au, Ag, or Cu (Periodic Table symbols for Gold, Silver, and Copper). If you get Gold or Silver rankings you will get some unlockables that can be used in the games Laboratory mode. Laboratory mode lets you mess around with the games various liquids and objects, allowing you to test out the games physics before they come up in the main game.

Puddle keeps it simple graphic wise, but that doesn’t make it in any way look bad. The game really uses that technique to its advantage to make the colors stand out and look crisp on the screen. The music is very relaxing as you would except from a puzzle game, as you change environments in the game the music transitions perfectly. Another great addition to Puddle is the leaderboards; you can compare your ranks to both friends and the world. Even though I’m nowhere near the top I’m glad the feature was included because it’s fun to compare times. With Puddle being at just $10 I would strongly recommend it for anyone that is looking for a unique puzzle game that brings a challenge. If you play puzzle games more for relaxation then a challenge, you might want to look for something else.

[Rating: 4/5]

A copy of the game was provided by Konami Entertainment.