Puddles can be found just about anywhere after it rains. It is simply a low point where water collects. But, what journey did that water go through to congregate there? Were there bunsen burners and molten lava between its initial fall and slide to its resting place? Well, probably not. But it is nice to imagine anyway. Puddle is an interesting little physics puzzle game that lets you have a peek into the imagined journeys that water may sometimes take. But is it a journey that you want to take?

Puddle is a simple concept. Get as much water as you can from A to B. But, in the way are everything that could be water’s worst nightmare -- gas burners, shorted out wires, and hidden traps, all conspire to keep your water from reaching its goal.

This is a simple, but very engaging concept that could be wildly entertaining. For the few playable moments I had with Puddle, I did enjoy it when it was working. Sadly, there seems to be a problem with the game and almost nothing seems to be working properly.

The menus are almost non-responsive. It takes more than a few tries to make the selection you want. When you finally make it into the game, the graphics are all incredibly low resolution, jagged, and choppy. It isn’t the kind of low res that you want from a game styled after the 8-bit days of yore. It just looks like something is very wrong, and that is a shame since the screenshots in the App Store look oh, so pretty.

Thinking that this might have just been an isolated incident, I snagged another iPhone and tried the game on there to the same result.

So, from what I could play before the game finally crashed was actually quite enjoyable. I decided to overlook the graphics and have a look at the level layouts, trap placements, and physics. They all seemed to work fine. It would actually have bordered on fun if the graphics hadn’t looked like someone had smashed the iPhone I was using.

My main issue that didn’t seem to result from a bug in the software was with the controls. In order to tilt the world, you have to touch either side of the screen. While in theory, it keeps you from looking like a dork as you fiddle and lean with your phone on an airplane, it simply isn’t engaging. There is an accelerometer and lots of other sensors in the Apple devices. Use them. It would make the game immensely more intuitive and you would feel like you’re actually sloshing water around inside your device. (Just don’t do that for real, we don’t condone water in your iOS device.)

Overall, I really wanted to really like Puddle and I sincerely hope that some of the technical issues are sorted out. I would definitely love to take another crack at the game once they’ve patched up some of the leaky pipes. As it stands, it is mostly unplayable and feels quite unfinished. There have been reports floating around that some people have it working, but Puddle has left me high and dry.


Store Link: Puddle for iPhone & iPad | By Neko Entertainment
| Price: $2.99 | Version: 1.0.1 | 276 MB | Rating 9+

2.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating