Review: Puddle (Xbox Live Arcade)

By Wayne Webb

Puddle is a little outside of the norm and would be amazing to play on a hand held device that senses your tilt/movements. On the Xbox Live Arcade it is still a great game, but sometimes you want just a little more control and room to move.

The basic premise is that you tilt the screen using the left and right trigger buttons to allow a liquid to flow in one direction or the other and then gravity does the rest. You can tilt back and forth at will and let you liquid flow freely. Of course it’s never as simple as that with holes, traps, switches and other things being a barrier to your liquid progression. The levels require you to think and plan due to limited time, or a goal for how much liquid you can afford to lose before you complete the level.

The Xbox Controller often feels like it’s limited in its range of motion and you just can’t seem to tip the screen far enough, where as a tilt controlled handheld device like a smartphone seems ideal for this concept. There are levels when you know if you can tip it a bit more then gravity will speed the liquid up, gather more momentum and perhaps even force. But you are limited in that range of motion and every level can be solved within that frame, even if you feel like you need more.

My six-year-old son loved the game and I found that where I could not complete it, somehow he had. I left it with him for 30 minutes by which time he had cleared a world and was on to new stages I hadn’t completed yet. There’s a lot of puzzle solving and lateral thinking required, and if I could put aside my disappointment with the controls and just played the game like a six year old, then I’d probably rate it even higher.

No killing, no language, no complex instructions and it requires you to think, this is a great family game and a nice diversion from the killing, driving or jumping roundabout that most games get stuck on.

Pros: Unique concept, varied level design, intelligence and strategy required.
Cons: Limited controls, seems designed for motion based hand held.

4 Shacks Out Of 5

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