The appealing thing about physics puzzle games is the somewhat random nature of the gameplay, depending on how you manipulate the in-game objects. Various puzzle games that use physics have since become major hits in the gaming market, especially in the mobile market. From Neko Entertainment and Konami, Puddle is more of a major platform release though, but it’s a quality physics puzzler that does have the potential to be released in other platforms.
In Puddle, you’re basically guiding a puddle of liquid through a maze of pipes in order to lead as much as you can to the finish line. There are various challenges and obstacles in your way though, so you have to make the liquid flow accordingly by controlling it in order to get past these challenges and save as much as you can for the finish of each level. A lot about this game is about simplicity, which is an ingredient for surprisingly complex gameplay.
The controls are simple, letting you tip the screen left with the left mouse button and right with the right mouse button, and that’s it. The game is as simple as that, it’s all about tipping the screen left and right to guide water down the tubes towards the finish line. While it’s quite simple, the gameplay does get deep once obstacles and problems are put in the way. Soon enough, the going does get tough and the game becomes more than just making water go from left to right as you then have to negotiate with twists and turns, as well as obstacles that threaten the liquids you’re guiding through the maze of pipes.
The visuals are quite simple, and perhaps rudimentary even in terms of presentation. Its indie-ness is quite obvious, but that may be what makes up the appeal of this game. The different environments make for a good level of variety in gameplay, which is always nice for such a simple game. You do get hints on the various elements of gameplay, including info on the different liquids you’ll be playing with and the obstacles you must get past, including things like fire that can turn your fluid into vapor. When you finish each level, you are ranked either gold, silver, or copper (Au, Ag, Cu) for how much water you’re able to save and lead to the finish.
The going does get very tough though as things start piling up, and that may just be what could be wrong with this game. A lot of the gameplay comes down to trial and error, and it can get tiresome once you’ve been replaying a particular level for the umpteenth time, which isn’t good for this game. But maybe it’s also its asset since it will make your brain bend as you try to figure out solutions to each problem. Making the physics go your way does require some exploration, which just means that you may have to play a level again and again a few times.
It’s definitely not perfect, but it does have its charm as a simple game that has the appeal that you’d expect from a Rube Goldberg machine, following something going from point A to B and passing through interesting road blocks and other elements in the way. If you like physics puzzles, then Puddle should do you well.
Tested in PC. Final Score: 7/10