(WiiWare)

Hydroventure (WiiWare)

Game Review

Hydroventure Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Patrick Elliot

A tidal wave of fun

WiiWare is no stranger to quirky, innovative games, with the platform delivering such wonderful titles as World of Goo, Lost Winds and the BIT.TRIP series. These titles all take full advantage of the Wii Remote, pairing novel gameplay concepts with smooth, accessible motion controls. Yet such stellar releases don't come along all too often, and WiiWare certainly has been offering up a considerable amount of dreck as of late. Thus Fluidity comes along at just the right time, promising to crack this latest gaming drought with a lovely shower of originality and controls that are as cool as ice.

In Fluidity, a dark inky substance called the Influence has infested the book world of Aquatica. With the help of an ancient magic, the player takes control over a fabled force said to have sealed away this evil hundreds of years in the past: water. As the only remaining drops of H2O, the player guides a body of the wet stuff over various puzzling 2D landscapes, collecting more drops to add to their pool while battling enemies and avoiding pits of lava and acid.

Tilting the controller right and left in turn tilts the game world, and gravity is used to turn objects, activate switches and control the water. At first you can only move side to side and jump, done by flicking the Remote upward, but as you explore more forms and abilities unlock, like the ability to turn into ice or steam.

The core mechanics of the game work very well, with surprisingly realistic water physics. Moving uphill takes momentum, water will seep through cracks in the ground and little droplets can leave your pool as you jump and splash about. Losing water is exactly what you don't want to do, though, as moisture that's left behind too long eventually evaporates into thin air, and if you lose all your water it's game over.

At first it's really easy to lose control of your pool, making for some frustrating moments of sending your water flowing over an edge or spilling off a platform. Soon enough, though, you gain your first ability, which lets you charge your water up into a ball. This is useful for keeping a tight pool, but also can't be used for too long or else you explode into tiny droplets that must be pooled together again. You can build up reserves by collecting the water balls scattered about the levels, and if you collect enough you get an extra life.

Progressing through the game is done by collecting Rainbow Drops, usually earned by solving an environmental puzzle, such as returning a fish to a bowl or setting a gear in place. Other times you'll meet inhabitants of the book world that ask you to do them favors, like putting out a fire. Some Rainbow Drops have been smashed into pieces, which must be collected to make it reappear, and there are lots of different ways to earn them, leaving you to explore the open-world maps at your own pace. This gives the game a familiar Metroidvania feel to it, as you'll be collecting new moves and abilities as you play and then revisiting past locations to gain access to more areas. The result is a nice, organic pace that tasks you with figuring out what areas are accessible with your current set of powers.

Once you've collected enough Rainbow Drops in a world, you unlock a door to the Influence's core. Here there are a set amount of enemies to be defeated, and once they are finished off the next world is unlocked. Enemies come in a variety of shapes and sizes, the most widespread of which are the slimes; these little critters sludge along on the ground and will periodically ignite, and to take them out you simply wash over them, timing your attack to avoid their flames. More enemies come about later in the game, and you'll have even more ways to take them out by then, liking turning into a rain cloud and zapping them with electricity. These new forms offer new puzzles too, keeping the gameplay fun and fresh. Soon you'll have to shift between various forms numerous times to solve the game's bigger brainteasers.

There's also a handy map to help you navigate, which shows unvisited locations and the drops you've yet to score, and the screen can be zoomed out during gameplay to give you a wider view of the room you're currently in. Oddly, though, if you hit a raindrop you've already collected, the game still congratulates you and sends you back to the beginning – while not a huge issue, it sometimes causes you to retrace the same areas due to a careless mistake. Thankfully there are several teleportation books scattered throughout the map that you can quickly travel between once discovered. The game worlds are pretty big, with each world's map spanning three pages, plus hidden areas and unlockable “playrooms”.

Playrooms are earned by collecting puzzle pieces, and serve as a welcome side quest to plodding through the main story, and are usually mini-levels that give the player a specific challenge to complete. The puzzle pieces are usually are pretty hard to find though, hidden behind walls or hanging in hard to reach places, and there are even hidden games to find in levels too, like a full-fledged pinball machine buried underground. These hidden extras make for some great replay value, and you'll want to revisit these worlds for quite some time even after defeating the Influence core.

That's not to say that the game isn't without its drawbacks. The biggest problem for potential players is likely the steep asking price: coming in at 1,200 Wii Points, Fluidity is one of the pricier games on WiiWare. Also, there are some unsavoury moments of camera confusion when your pool gets separated into two equal parts, the camera splitting the difference and hovering between them both, obscuring your view. Still, this only happens some of the time, and before long you'll be spending most of your time as other states than just water anyhow.

Conclusion

Fluidity is easily one of the more original games on WiiWare and comes with hours of replay value, a slick physics engine and spot on controls. The huge 2D maps are full of secret areas and unlockable extras, and the pacing of the game keeps the action from ever becoming too repetitive or dull. What starts off as a simple tilting affair soon evolves into some of the most refined gameplay mechanics ever slapped onto the Wii Remote. From simply directing the flow of a stream of water you'll soon be blasting through doors as a block of ice, launching off spirngboards and zapping enemies with bolts of lightning from a raincloud. Fluidity may come with a steep asking price, but it's an experience that shouldn't be missed.

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Game Trailer

It's ice to see this new trailer. Don't like the pun? Chill out at http://www.nintendolife.com

User Comments (59)

SuperMarioFan96

#4

SuperMarioFan96 said:

Just realized I still haven't bothered to download the demo (I've been busy! :D ), so I'll do that today.

Omega

#6

Omega said:

I like World of Goo very much. I think this one is a must have for me, too. And the price isn't higher than for World of Goo.

shinesprite

#10

shinesprite said:

Anyone know roughly how many levels are in this game (lots of replay value isn't specific enough for me)?

CanisWolfred

#12

CanisWolfred said:

The demo frustrated me and it reminded me too much of LocoRoco, but I'm glad others enjoyed it.

Slapshot

#14

Slapshot said:

Great review Patrick!

This is my next WiiWare purchase right with Cave Story DSi. I absolutely love these indy games and styles being polished up and brought to the WiiWare/DSiWare service.

Amazing game play styles are worth paying a little extra for! :)

PatrickElliotStaff

#15

PatrickElliot said:

@Metroid Fan
Thanks, and I'd say give the demo a try if you can't secure the funds right away!
@Shinesprite: The game has four main worlds, but to say there are just four levels isn't quite accurate, as each of these four maps must be revisited as you gain powers. Think of the four areas as different sections of a Metroid game, ones with areas locked till later in the game.
@Slapshot
Agree, the effort put into this title definitely warrants the price!

pikku

#18

pikku said:

I'll try the demo, and if I like it, this is going on my BL wishlist ;)

pixelman

#20

pixelman said:

Awesome. I was hoping this'd turn out good. I need to check out the demo now... I keep forgetting to! :O

SonicMaster

#23

SonicMaster said:

I'll get the demo as well. I've been planning to since Monday. This looks like it could be an honest-to-goodness addition to my library! :)

JeanLuc_Vaycard

#24

JeanLuc_Vaycard said:

Played the demo and like irken it doesn't justify a 1200 point purchase for me. Fun, but almost equally frustrating as well. As the game gets more difficult i could see myself getting very aggravated at losing all those little bits of water. Good concept though and unique i will say. 800 i would pay, but yeah. Anyway good review. Not bashing the review at all in any way. Just offering my two cents. I bet some will love this game.

bboy2970

#25

bboy2970 said:

When I first played this game I really really liked it. Since then, it has gripped on to me and won't let go. I really love this game! Its got very very expansive areas to explore. I love the non-liniarity of it. Also I love how some puzzles that are built with a specific power in mind can still be solved with a little determination even without the particular power. There was one area that was obviously built for a skill that I had yet to learn. i didn't care and I pushed through in a rather struggling manner and got the rainbow drop after about a half hour. This game is just all kinds of awesome! So worth 1200 points!

thaantman

#26

thaantman said:

I may get this at some point, my only problems with the game is that I just don't like the particular look of it, wish the art style looked more like world of goo, and the price is a little bit steep

RantingThespian

#27

RantingThespian said:

Great review, and after playing the Demo, I was really impressed. I might buy it if I have money left over from x-mas shopping!

siavm

#28

siavm said:

1200 is to much for me. It may be good but may days of spending over 1000 for a game is over. Nintendo have a sale on wiiware and dsiware games or else psn is my new home for game downloads.

Z_Bone

#29

Z_Bone said:

The demo was good but it didn't totally convince me to buy it. I didn't like the way the water separated so easily at first, until I got the ability to bring the water together into a ball, which made the gameplay a ton more satisfying.

bboy2970

#30

bboy2970 said:

I know that some people are annoyed with th fact that jumping os mapped to flicking the remote up and question why it couldn't have been a button press. Well, I've figured out why: the force with which you jerk the remote up actually affects how high the water jumps and it actually does make a gameplay difference more often than you would think. Something like that can't simply be slapped on a button.

HiroshiYamauchi

#32

HiroshiYamauchi said:

This game is totally worth 1200 points. To me it is, along with games like World of Goo and Cave Story, one of the best WiiWare titles available.

Wolfenstein83

#33

Wolfenstein83 said:

Sounds like a must-have!
Which is a rare thing on WiiWare these days.
I would love to have another Lost Winds someday, that was a great WiiWare game too that I think may be overlooked.

Link79

#34

Link79 said:

It is very addictive. I couldn't stop myself. Once you get the ability to pull the water into a big ball it gets better. The music is stuck in my head too.
I think it's a neat little game.

bboy2970

#35

bboy2970 said:

I just obtained the last power! This game really is quite deep and gets more enjoyable with every new power. the more I play it, the more I love it!

JimLad

#37

JimLad said:

I love games that make good use of the tilt sensors or pointer, they give the Wii it's identity.
Would be a day one purchase, but there's going to be a demo so we'll obviously try that first. :) I'm sure it will be good though.

imapterodactyl

#38

imapterodactyl said:

For the amount of content in this incredibly fun game, 1200 points is a steal. People complaining that the price is too steep are simply being ridiculous. All Wiiware games are not created equally, or with the same budget. There's no reason a polished title like this should cost the same as the myriad 500 point shovelware on the service. I would have paid retail for this, easily. It's the most fun I've had with the Wii in a very long time.

GammaGames

#39

GammaGames said:

I got the demo for this, it's fun. I was trying to decide wether to put my new card on my Wii or DSi, I decided DSi. Wanted cave story (so i can take it with me) :P

Platypus

#41

Platypus said:

it had some control problems for me. Wasn't as smooth as And Yet It Moves. I'll skip.

Sabrewing

#43

Sabrewing said:

Might just have to get this since La-Mulana still doesn't have a release date yet.

Mystic_Kirby

#47

Mystic_Kirby said:

It IS kinda expensive, but I might just check this one out. Also, with the leftover points, I can buy lilt line. :D

ThEjOkErIsWiLd

#48

ThEjOkErIsWiLd said:

For ppl complaining about the price tag, you get what you pay for, the play area of this game is MASSIVE. There's 4 "worlds" to explore with 3 pages in each one, and each page has several panels to navigate through, plus there's all sorts of neat little mechanisms to manipulate and control, such as a cable car that takes you to a new area and a water cannon you squirt your water out of to get to hard-to-reach platforms. An incredibly inventive and fun game to play. If you enjoy quirky puzzling platformers, i definitely recommend it!

Spoony_Tech

#49

Spoony_Tech said:

I didn't like this game that much at first. I took it for another spin and I must say it is one one of the best wiiware games period. I've played quite a few and for me this ranks up there with the world of goos and the like.

rulerdude

#50

rulerdude said:

The demo is what got me to buy it... After collecting just 3 rainbow drops in the demo, I had to keep going! 1200 is a little steep (and inconvenient if you want to buy 2 1000 point games), but it is worth it. Even after you finish the game, you can collect more rainbow drops, puzzle pieces, etc... You might even try to play levels as different states... All in all, I bought it, I love it, Period.

RedBaron96

#51

RedBaron96 said:

This was the first game I downloaded once we had Wii points. The demo had me hooked. I love it! Yes, it is frustrating in parts, but if the game is too easy, that's not fun either. Some levels are fun to replay just because. I'm really hoping to find more games like it. It was well worth the price.

rjejr

#52

rjejr said:

150 coins with Club Nintendo account until Jan 10th 2012.

Yes I know it's a year later but I figured I saved somebody else the trouble of coming here to post this exact message. My good deed for the day.

Virus

#54

Virus said:

I just downloaded this game through Club Nintendo. I'm absolutely ashamed I did not buy this game earlier. Its gameplay is amazing; its graphics are appropriate and whimsical; and the water controls surprisingly well. I held back because I thought it was just mere puzzle game. More appropriately, this game is a puzzle platformer with Metroid elements to it. Absolutely fantastic.

Sam_Loser2

#57

Sam_Loser2 said:

Wow, sounds good. And though it costs quite an amount of points, it's being offered for coins now. I'm totally getting it.

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