Format: PC (browser/flash)
Locom is what I'd call a 2D skill-based game. It's got a lot of platforming elements, but you don't exactly have any of the running and jumping of a traditional platformer. Your goal is to get to the end of each level by shooting water around. This means it's got a little bit of physics in it, which then means it's got a little bit of puzzles in it. It's like a skill and puzzle based game. It's got a little bit of everything.
This game intrigues me mechanically. It's a 2D game with platforms and the standard platform game saw blades, but there no running of jumping. Instead, everything is done by shooting water. Moving around boxes, moving around yourself, and everything in between is done via shooting water at something to move something. The physics aren't bad, so moving around your character is never too frustrating. It's got the right amount of momentum. The only problem with shooting water around is when you need to ricochet it, which is harder than it sounds. It was never a big problem, so that's really a minor complaint.
A cool thing to note is the fact that because there is only one mechanic designated to the player character, the ability to shoot water to propel things, there is only one means of input for it. You aim the water gun with the mouse, and shoot by clicking the mouse. The simple fact that this game can be played completely with one hand makes it feel all the more casual, which kind of does add to the whole mobile feeling of the game.
Level design flips between skill-based levels and puzzle-based levels. Both are rather easy, but change up the game's pace, so it's still a welcomed transition each time. Skill-based levels usually involve dodging saw blades or falling boxes, and focus a lot more on timing and conserving your shots of water. A thing about the water gun is that the further your mouse is from the player character, the more powerful the shot. This makes segments where you cannot touch the ground segments where you have to really take into account how far each blast is going to push you.
Puzzle-based levels mostly focus on shooting water to push a button and setting up things so that a door will stay open for you to continue. This again requires timing and conserving, but it's of a different style of both. There's also the extra layer of figuring out how to solve the puzzle. With the addition of new mechanics and level designs, things keep fresh. It's not too hard to figure them out, but they do take longer than skill-based levels and are just as satisfying to complete.
Visuals are alright, being good in some ways while in others sort of lacking. Art wise this game is mostly good. It's pixelated but had just enough detail to it so that it looks indie and not retro. The animations are nice. There's a smooth frame rate for every animation, including the randomly generated water pixels spewing everywhere. It's only problem visually is the color pallet. The yellows, reds, and blues are used quite nicely, but unfortunately the background is a boring puke-green and the foreground plain black outlined in white.
Overall the sound design isn't too bad either. The music is an decent and fitting chip tune piece that isn't too bad to listen to, but can kinda wear off as it plays over and over in every level. Behind the music is the background noise of echoing flushes and running water, which is fitting for the visual background of nothing but pipes. Other sound bits like the ones used for filling up water and shooting it out are oddly satisfying. Makes you want to waste perfectly good water.
All in all, Locom is a nifty little game. It's short, being comprised of about 18 easy levels. It's an interesting casual game for those interested. It doesn't do everything right, but it does enough right. Just imagine a small, 2D Super Mario Sunshine game where all you do is use the Fludd. It's basically that.
Play Locom HERE