I don't remember what got me thinking about this game, but when it came up, I immediately thought two things. 1. I probably spent more money renting this game than I should have, and 2. It would be a great candidate for Games that Time Forgot. So I phoned up Rev Anthony and after we complimented each other on how good looking we are, I suggested it to him. Unfortunately, he had never played the game, so it is now up to me to
totally rip off
complement his column with one of my own.
So for the uninitiated, Wetrix
is a puzzle game that involves falling blocks (how novel!), but then also factors in fluid physics, seismology, and rubber duckies.
is a puzzle game, (and one that is unfortunately not Tetris Attack!
), it doesn't really have a story. But I can invent a story for how the game came about. It seems that the debut of the Nintendo 64 had a lot to do with the genesis of this game. "So this new system does stuff in 3D and can render water? Then let's make a game that has to do with water, and let's make it in 3D!"
Or perhaps we can pretend that we are something like God's assistant, while the man himself isn't feeling up to handling everything by himself. So you are tasked with the job of forming this new land and making sure it's fertile and safe, but the pieces with which you accomplish it are decided all for you. Yeah, I like that story better.
is, at its heart, a falling block puzzle game. However, it's much more complicated than Tetris
(and I am just now at the time of this writing realizing the similarity in names, so certainly the developers of Wetrix
must have been paying homage to their inspiration). In Wetrix
, you have standard "Upper" blocks that build up the landscape, less common "Downer" blocks that bring higher parts back down (and lower heart rate), water globules that function as the main means of gaining points and also losing the game, fireballs that evaporate said water globules, and bombs that are pretty much just a huge nuisance as they blow holes into the playing field.
The object of the game is to get points, and you do so by building lakes and then evaporating them. Since the landscape starts off flat, the immediate goal is to use Uppers to create an enclosed space where you can then put some water. Evaporating water with fireballs is the most important means of collecting points, and the number of points you get is proportional to the amount of water evaporated, so the ultimate goal is to build a big lake and evaporate it.
To aid in the quest for points, you can also get multipliers in the forms of rubber duckies and a rainbow. Rubber duckies are awarded for deep lakes, while the rainbow appears when the volume of water in a lake has passed a certain amount. Rubber duckies don't multiply score by as much as a rainbow, but many can be collected, and their effects are stackable.
While it sounds like a gleeful, vanilla experience, it is actually fairly stressful. Any water that goes over the edge or through a hole in the landscape gets added to the overflow vial, and once that's full it's game over. To make things even more difficult, there is also an earthquake meter that fills up as more landmass is added. Once the earthquake meter is filled, the land shifts around unpredictably, and almost always results in water spilling off and ending the game.
Why you're probably not playing it:
Well, for one, it originated on the Nintendo 64, which is from the generation of systems that is largely neglected today, by current-gen and retro gamers alike. But in addition to that, it just isn't as infinitely replayable as some of the more classic puzzle games like Tetris
or Puzzle League
. This is partially because control was not the smoothest thing and the isometric viewpoint coupled with the semi-smooth landscape features made it difficult to tell where the pieces would actually drop.
Another point against Wetrix
is that the announcer just will not shut up. As evidenced in the video above, he lets you know, in his robot voice, every time the number of lakes you have increases or decreases, whenever a rubber ducky or a rainbow is awarded, when an ice cube is falling, when an earthquake is happening, and just about anything else that can happen in the game. These events frequently overlap, resulting in a jumbled mess of irritating voice that hinders more than helps.
But then, it appears that there was also a PC version of the game (which I'm sure you can not-Torrent if you're not into that sort of thing), as well as a sequel called Aqua Aqua
for the PS2. Both the N64 version and the PS2 sequel are pretty easy to find and selling for cheap (used, of course), so if you wanted to check out this frantic yet ultimately average puzzle game, you certainly could.