Wednesday, March 16, 2011

REVIEW: Fludity (Wii Ware)

Jaded. Tired. Bored. That was me a few months ago. My apathy for video games was complete and a year of dust covered my Wii. Then Nintendo restarted its Wii Ware demo program in November of last year. The first wave of demos was alright, but then the Fluidity demo arrived. It quickly captured my attention and deftly liberated me of a few hard-earned dollars.

Fluidity (by Curve Studios) is a physics-based puzzler/platformer that makes good use of the Wii's intuitive motion controls. You must save Aquaticus, a magical book that has been corrupted by evil black ink called the Influence. Using water, you must banish the inimical ink from the book's 4 chapters by collecting over 80 magical rainbow drops while also finding puzzle pieces which open special play rooms where you refine your water handling wizardry.

Use your water to save fish and reveal a rainbow drop
As you start Fluidity, your control of water is limited to sloshing around and jumping. Tilt the Wii remote left or right to move the water. Move the Wii remote up sharply and your water will spring into the air. As you progress, you collect ability "stickers" that allow you to do things like change physical states and explode. There are 9 ability stickers in all, and by the end of the game, the variety of powers at your disposal is impressive.

Those nasty goop slugs will flare your water into oblivion
Fluidity is also a platformer with baddies you have to defeat. Goop slugs and goop hornets are Influence incarnate and they are out to end your adventure. In addition, you must beware of environmental hazards like acid and lava. Fortunately, there are many clever, captivating contraptions and tricky terrain features that help you complete your task. The way Fluidity's world is presented is cartoony, but not overly so; cute, but not too cute. It is interactive, engrossing, easygoing and even soothing.

Nothing flies quite like ice
Some games (especially Wii games) have a novelty that wears off, be it quickly or not. For me, the novelty of Fluidity never wore off. It seemed like there was always a pleasant surprise just around the corner. Whether I was driving a fire truck, playing basketball, crashing through walls, swinging from a helicopter, or flipping coins in a penny pusher, Fluidity never let me down. Some puzzles are easier than others while some are downright difficult, but this just adds to Fluidity's charm: it is a varied, fantastical adventure that is funny, fun, and lengthy. I must have spent at least 10 hours enjoying Fluidity.

Don't fall in the lava!
Fluidity is a game that I enjoyed like no other in recent memory. It had me happy, smiling, and even content at every turn. Every minute felt like it was worth it because every minute was terrifically innovative and completely rewarding. Despite all this, I lament to tell you that Fluidity is not perfect. The music is very well done, but can get repetitive (it didn't bother me, but others have complained and I can see why), and I would have liked to see more types of goop baddies. Perhaps in Fluidity 2?

Float high in the sky, then rain down
Fluidity is the best game I have played on Wii Ware and is worth at least $30, which makes its $12 price all the easier to pay. That being said, I don't like to recommend games on Wii Ware because of the abusive DRM that Nintendo uses. As a rule, I cannot recommend even good games on Wii Ware. Fluidity is not a good game. It is a great game, and I highly recommend it despite the DRM. I give it a 9.9 out of 10.

Stick to the gear and freeze the goop hornet while you bypass the lava
There is a hole in my gaming heart now that I have finished Fluidity, but my 4-year-old son is still wending his way through this wonderful world of fascinating fun, and I will enjoy helping him. Also, I still have all 4 play rooms to work on, the last of which is quite the homage to Metroid. Well done, Curve Studios. Well done. More, please!

Have you played Fluidity yet? Was it as great an experience for you as it was for me? Sound off in the comments!

--Demo Gamer

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