hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts


Review: Fluidity

2:00 PM on 12.19.2010 // Tony Ponce

Long-in-development Explodemon! was originally a title for both WiiWare and PSN. Along the way, it became a PSN-exclusive, bringing a frown to many a face. Surprise, surprise -- developer Curve Studios popped into PAX a few short months back to demo a new WiiWare title, Fluidity. Fast forward to today, Fluidity has been released and Explodemon! is still sweating it out in the workshop.

So, what does this crazy water-based physics puzzler with a premium 1200-point price tag have to offer Wii fans? In a word: lots.

(I briefly considered populating this intro with puns like "Is the water fine, or is this game all washed up?" Thank God, good sense prevailed.)

Fluidity (WiiWare)
Developer: Curve Studios
Publisher: Nintendo
Released: December 6, 2010 
MSRP: 1200 Wii Points

The magical tome Aquaticus has been infested by a malicious goop known as the Influence. The spirit of the book has called upon you, a sentient pool of agua, to scour the pages and wash the ink away. By tilting and shaking the Wii remote, you maneuver past various traps, puzzles, and even a minigame or two in order to collect Rainbow Drops and restore the book's power.

Progression is equal parts platforming and action-adventuring, a little Super Mario 64 here and a dash of Metroid there. Instead of tackling a multitude of smaller levels, you visit four worlds each massive in size and scope. The Rainbow Drops you collect unlock doors to new zones on the map, and the abilities you acquire over the course of the game allow you access previously unreachable areas. Because there is so much ground to cover, warp points are available to reduce travel time.

All in all, your play time will run you between ten to fifteen hours at the least. This is a massive game with lots to do and see, so I'm thankful that the premium price tag is representative of actual content.

The worlds are literally chapters of the Aquaticus that span six pages, and the rooms you pass through are illustrated panels. This comic book arrangement allows for a healthy variety in scenery, where one panel can be a lava-filled catacomb while the adjacent panel is a sun-drenched water park dotted with slides and sand. All the objects are colored in bright hues without any shading, lending to the flat-world aesthetic. They really look like moving illustrations on a page.

The game is played with the Wii Remote sideways. You slide by tilting in either direction, jump by shaking the remote, and perform various techniques with the 1 or 2 buttons. Controls are extremely simple but polished to a bright sheen, with every nuance of movement affecting your actions. If you goof up, the failure lies on you, not the controls.

Curve Studios did a fantastic job of capturing the essence of liquid -- controlling a body of water can be a harrowing experience as the water splits into dozens of droplets that get caught in nooks and crannies. It's imperative to keep all the water pooled together lest the smaller bodies evaporate. Thankfully, you can collect floating water droplets to restore the supply lost from evaporation or enemy contact.

You learn new powers in your travels, the greatest of which is the gather ability. Hold down the gather button and the divided water pools are attracted to the largest globule like a magnet. Holding down the button for too long will cause the water to explode in all directions, a technique that comes in handy when you need to water a flower that's perched on a high ledge, for example. Late in the game, you earn the squirt ability, which allows you to transfer your water up great heights or across great distances via a pressurized stream.

You aren't just splashing about the whole time, as state changers are scattered about to grant you ice and steam forms. Ice can break through certain barriers and even stick to surfaces to allow for wall-jumping. Steam is the most versatile of the states, allowing you to shoot lighting bolts for frying foes or charging machinery and to blow air gusts for turning windmills or clearing away poison clouds.

Every ability at your disposal is put to the test time and time again. You have to locate loose cogs missing from gate-opening mechanisms, return goldfish to their bowl, and engage in some rather perilous precision platforming. The most clever challenges are the single instance events, like operating a fire truck to extinguish a burning building, directing a basketball into a hoop, and playing around with that cheap-as-all-hell coin pusher machine that you find at some arcades and carnivals. Along the way, you also collect puzzle pieces that look suspiciously like Banjo-Kazooie Jiggies that unlock playroom minigames for side diversions.

The difficulty curve throughout is nice and steady but slopes upward sharply in the final world like you wouldn't believe, throwing at you Rube Goldberg contraptions of Machiavellian design. All of sudden, you are falling into lava pools at every turn and restarting sections countless times over. If you are like me, who earned enough Rainbow Drops in the earlier chapters to jump straight to the final boss "battle" without needing to explore much of the last world, you won't be quite as prepared as you may have hoped. As a general rule of thumb, it's best to take it slow and clear as much of a world as you can before entering a boss room or moving on to the following chapter.

Aside from those hurdles, you may find controlling the water in its various states to be a bit troublesome, especially once the pressure starts beating down on you. What I've found is that the physics are extremely realistic to the point that every feature of the landscape can affect your maneuverability. For example, it's more difficult to scale a rocky surface in ice form as opposed to a smooth wall. Also, where you initiate a jump and how you are tilting the controller can mean the difference between a pathetic hop and a tremendous leap into the heavens. It's a fair system, just one that demands a lot of practice and patience.

Regardless, Fluidity is pleasant end-of-year treat for WiiWare owners full of grand exploration. The water physics are top-notch and, in combination with the various creative puzzles and obstacles, provide a healthy dose of challenge, though some players may feel put off by late-game difficulty spike. It's clever, at times calming then nerve-wracking, and all around fun.



Fluidity - Reviewed by Tony Ponce
Entrancing - It's like magic, guys. Time disappears when this game and I are together, and I never want it to end. I'm not sure if this is a love that will last forever, but if it is, you'll get no complaints from me.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Tony Ponce, Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure megaStryke Tips
(Decommissioned) Super Fighting Robot more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

nanashi avatarnanashi
Wanna ask a question for tomorrow's PStoid? You still have time! While you're at it don't forget to ask one for Riobux too!!
SkarKrow avatarSkarKrow
I caught a reflective mumbling about MGSV's open structure and how it doesn't sit well with me, to be published whenever I litter it with images.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Welp, an article today got me thinking about this so without further ado, whats your favorite pokemon? This is mine:
Clarence Sheridan avatarClarence Sheridan
Winter is Coming and so is the new mobile game: “Frosty The Assassin” New Mobile Game coming soon... [img][/img]
SkarKrow avatarSkarKrow
I cast my little worm in to the pond for a topic to try to make a blog about today. I fish fish fish but nothing bites bites bites.
Perro avatarPerro
I cracked and bought Final Fantasy Dimensions on Android last night. Half off sounded like just the right price, though I wish this came out on 3DS or even the Vita but at least it gives me something to do on the porcelain throne!
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Coming soon in Mortal Kombat XXX DLC - HUMILITALITY [youtube][/youtube]
Robo Panda Z avatarRobo Panda Z
Those N64-era THQ wrestling games have actually held up really well over the years. Take that, nostalgia!
Halflocke avatarHalflocke
Underhero a 2d side scrolling rpg on indie gogo
extatix avatarextatix
Heading off to Spiel in a bit. A whole lot of games there, just of the cardboard variety. I love me some board games.
absolutfreak avatarabsolutfreak
Finally finished The Witcher 3. Definitely one of the best games I've played in my 30 years or so of gaming. Now onward to Ground Zeroes/Phantom Pain.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
*playing an old ps1 game* "START and SELECT don't bring the menu up?! WELL WHAT THE FU-oh, it's Triangle..."
TheDefenestrator avatarTheDefenestrator
If anyone's playing Marvel Puzzle Quest (any platform) you should join my Alliance, RedRightHand, and help me kick some Galactus butt for their second anniversary event. (Please?)
Shinta avatarShinta
MGS Online Day 3. I have 3 character up to level 10 now, one in each class. They're all pretty handy, but I do miss the scout's mark speed the most on other classes.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
The SW: Battlefront is pretty and has great sound design, but the gameplay is so shallow and has seemingly no depth! If the full game is like this I will be disappointed.
Torchman avatarTorchman
*looks at Amazon preorder* This one's for you Chib'
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
Dear Playboy: Love your video game coverage, but how about you start making some topless unboxing videos? Seeing someone unwrap a copy of Call of Duty is boring. Seeing a topless Playmate unwrap a copy of anything is awesome!
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
In happier news, Level-5 is already talking Yo-Kai Watch 2's Western release, and better/worse yet, they're considering amiibo support for the series! And hey, if they can't get Jibanyan into Smash, that'd be one way to get the West's attention.
gajknight avatargajknight
I drank a glass of Ovaltine for the first time in years today. It was nice. Like drinking a glass of my childhood, complete with ignorance, embarrassing angst, tears (so many tears) and night terrors. Ah, the good 'ol days.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
[img][/img] This is just depressing. Digital classics on consoles are such a great idea, but it's like not a single company wants to really go through with it.
more quickposts


destructoid's previous coverage:

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -