Molotov Cupcake Avatar Posted on 3/16/2012 by Molotov Cupcake
Games
Reviews
A fascinating, head-scratching (and controller-tilting) good time, with obfuscating dilemmas that are, surprisingly, part of its charm.

Puddle's clean, often sterile backgrounds and Zen-like soundtrack are perfect accompaniments to a journey that gives no premise or aid, and just presents itself as-is. It's core gameplay is based in simple concepts that require little thought to comprehend, but much practice and skill to master. It's quite accessible and rewarding, but only if you're willing to swim a bit deeper beyond its lack of conventionally helpful tutorial screens and go-here, do-this aids. You may have no idea where to go or how to proceed in the beginning, but that's all part of Puddle's charm, and coming out feeling accomplished after having successfully distinguished the correct path is an exhilarating feeling.
Release: January 25, 2012
Rating: T
Publisher: Konami
Written by Brittany Vincent (editor-at-large)

Puddle is an enigmatic puzzler that calls to mind elements of the familiar while still managing to boggle the mind. From your very first rendezvous with one of many of the game's fluid-based puzzles to the very end, you're left to your own devices. Its obfuscating dilemmas are, surprisingly, part of its charm, and though it doesn't present the same level of hand-holding you may be used to, Puddle is a fascinating, head-scratching (and controller-tilting) good time.

Your only real goal is to, after the surreal beginning of the game where a cup of coffee spills out onto a table, ooze the liquid mass from point A to point B without the evaporation of your puddle or other interference from other environmental hazards. In theory it's as simple as avoiding the chemicals, obstacles, and other entrapments that seek to keep you from guiding your liquid successfully. This is accomplished via Sixaxis (or Move support should you have the peripheral) on the PlayStation 3 version and brings to mind the art of subtle movements as seen in Flower or similar outings on the console.

It's no piece of cake, though, and even dips into the complex understanding of how certain liquids and other items interact with the physics of liquid and momentum. And you do it all without the aid of tutorial screens or helpful hints. You may have no idea where to go or how to proceed in the beginning, but that's all part of Puddle's charm, and coming out feeling accomplished after having successfully distinguished the correct path is an exhilarating feeling.

Completing each stage nets you a different rating that corresponds to Gold, Silver, and Copper as on the periodic table, and it's quite difficult to attain the Gold and Silver medals, but doing so will award different unlockable items for use in Laboratory mode, where you're encouraged to experiment (get it?) with different liquids, objects, and other inventory to really get a feel for how the physics system of Puddle really works. If anything, it's great for practice and a "free-range" mode for free play without fear of ruining your progress in the actual game.

Puddle's clean, often sterile backgrounds and Zen-like soundtrack are perfect accompaniments to a journey that gives no premise or aid, and just presents itself as-is. It's core gameplay is based in simple concepts that require little thought to comprehend, but much practice and skill to master. It's quite accessible and rewarding, but only if you're willing to swim a bit deeper beyond its lack of conventionally helpful tutorial screens and go-here, do-this aids.







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