January 11, 2011

Fluidity‘s title is somewhat misleading. While a lot of the game does in fact revolve around guiding a pool of water through a series of storybook-like environments, that only covers one-third of the actual action. As you progress through the game’s four worlds you quickly earn the ability to transform into ice, with a cloud of vapor being added to your options not too long after that. Each form has its own unique unlockable abilities in addition to its inherent properties. Shifting between states is a vital part of solving the various puzzles, and with the exception of vapor to water (think precipitation) you can only do so at specific locations, so plan carefully. 

Your overall objective is to collect Rainbow Drops in order to restore power to the mystical tome Aquaticus, which has been contaminated by a dark inky Influence. There are other collectables — water drops to increase your health/reserve lives, puzzle pieces to unlock optional skill-testing “playrooms” — but Rainbow Drops (and, at times, items that reveal additional Drops) are your primary focus. Certain thresholds of Rainbow Drops are required to open various doors, a mechanic that will feel familiar to any platforming veteran. What probably won’t feel familiar is the play control, which consists mostly of tilting the Wii Remote (held sideways) to let gravity move your collection of H2O appropriately; the cloud can also move up or down without having to worry about being pulled back to the ground — although I recommend switching from the default inverted controls for this in order to keep things intuitive. The 1 button handles most of your other skills, be it gathering your water to keep it cohesive (and build up some explosive pressure), sticking your ice to a surface to defy gravity for a limited time, or sucking in air (useful for carrying balloons); your other skills will require use of the D-pad or 2 button, but the controls are never complicated.

The puzzles, on the other hand, can be quite devious. You will have to navigate unusual terrain — some of it dangerous (and different states are affected by different hazards) — and deal with various agents of the Influence in addition to various obstacles, walls, switches, and other nuisances. Often puzzles will require locating a missing gear in order to return functionality to machinery (some hazards can even destroy gears, which costs you a life), returning some lost goldfish to their bowl (fish can be frozen, but need to stay wet or they’ll die — and so will you — so no flying), putting rubber duckies in a tub, putting out fires, or whatever. The variety definitely keeps things interesting, and the difficulty increases feel natural as you progress.

There are almost 90 Rainbow Drops to collect in all; you only need about two-thirds of them in order to gain access to the final boss. That task will occupy a decent chunk of your free time, and tracking down all of the hidden nooks and crannies will require borderline obsession. Fluidity is well worth the 1200 points, but if you’re still not sure, there might still be a demo available that you can take for a test-splash.


Score: 5/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.