Fluidity: Spin Cycle developed by Cycle Studios and published by Nintendo came out on Dec 27, 2012 exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS eShop, and serves as the sequel to Fluidity (originally for the Wii via WiiWare). Taking up where Fluidity left off, Fluidity: Spin Cycle has the player in control of a blob of water that is in actuality a “water spirit”, and once again accomplishes the amazing task of getting gamers to actually care about water. The game is one of the puzzle genre and continues the unique approach of its predecessor by taking advantage of the motion sensing capabilities of its chosen console to control the water spirit as it attempts to free the captured rainbow sprites of the game.
Getting right down to it, the plot of Fluidity: Spin Cycle isn’t going to be winning over any hearts and minds anytime soon, but the presentation is what really sells this story of a water blob trying to save his friends. The story begins sweetly enough as a wizard looks over his favorite picture book and stares in wonder at some of the wonderful drawings within. Eventually the wizard decides to use some of that ole magic of his to bring the images to life, which boils down to the pictures on the pages begin to move and act out their lives and the stories they are a part of. The magic that allows this is a group of creatures known as “rainbow sprites”, which are a source of good magic within the world and lead to fun and wondrous effects when called upon, however their enemies “The Goop” are jealous of their power, and when the wizard is not looking they manage to escape from the jar they are imprisoned in (which coincidently is right above the book) and begin to attack the rainbow sprites. Thus begins the adventure as a water sprite named Eddy, upon seeing the commotion in the wizard’s study, jumps into the book in an attempt to free the spirits and defeat the goop. Ignoring the obvious of “Why would a powerful wizard keep the good and bad magic next to each other over the book he so adores?” all in all the plot is simply there to get the ball rolling in Fluidity: Spin Cycle. A colorful cast of side characters within the book (who merely serve as momentary draws into the world in an attempt to create atmosphere) do give the game a fair bit of life and allow the player the chance to see why the wizard would even care about the book in the first place.
This game, is incredibly fun and challenging. That’s simply what it boils down to, no pun intended, as a good portion of the game revolves around Eddy and his ability to use his water properties to solve the various puzzles of Fluidity: Spin Cycle. Eddy will have a great deal of powers that the player can access, from the mundane of simply being able to recall the watery bits of Eddy back together into one liquidy clump, or the more advanced of turning into water’s other forms of gas and solid (read: steam and ice). This mixed with the control method of tilting the 3DS to let physics do the work and send Eddy slipping and sliding gives the player a great sense of interactivity as opposed to the passive nature of many games in the puzzle genre. The one fatal flaw of all this is that the game is incredibly challenging and sends the player quickly careening down a path of increasingly challenging puzzles and continues to drop new abilities and ways to interact with the world, which needless to say can become a bit of a problem of too much, too soon. A puzzle can be as simple as tilting to allow Eddy through a hole, or as complex as continuously tilting and tilting back to get Eddy through a number of holes while also avoiding flaming bits of goop, all while on the clock. However on the flip-side, being a puzzle game, you’re always welcome to go back and retry old levels to get used to the mechanics said level might introduce. There is no one-try to per level, it’s a game that can be played at one’s own pace and in fact encourages that as many levels cannot be fully completed without the learning of new powers etc.
Eddy gets to interact in a cute bubbly world, which gives a nice bit of storybook feel as well as gives good interaction physics wise. The water flows how it should and looks good doing so, however it can be a bit challenging at time as some of the levels color schemes can swallow up a stray piece of Eddy costing the player a bit of health in the process as they lose said piece. The different parts of the level all have a very magical art style about them and it’s highly believable you are in some kind of fun adventure book as you explore the various levels of Fluidity: Spin Cycle. There is a good bit of distinction between levels to ensure the visuals never get too stale or familiar and the levels are all designed to have their own methods of completion as opposed to simply being slightly modified versions of previous ones. One moment you’re rocking with the dinos in a prehistoric level and the next you’re enjoying the wonders of space in a futuristic world. However the sound of the game leaves something to be desired as the melodies are often a bit too quiet and can lull the player into a sense that they need not hurry, when the level’s do in fact have a timer. A few of them also can run together, and none of the tunes of the game really stick out. The sound effects, while interesting at times, don’t really cement themselves in the mind, and for a character so cute as a blob of water the player will sadly not be greeted with noises to enhance the “aww” factor of Eddy.
Fluidity: Spin Cycle will be a game that will, without a doubt, delight the player and be something of a treat, if you ever find yourself with a bit of a wait on your hands. Fluidity: Spin Cycle is a lot of fun and will challenge the seasoned puzzle veteran, as well as continue to innovate with its use of the tilt-feature of the 3DS, but outside of using the game as a time killer in situations involving waiting-rooms and long car rides, sadly Eddy won’t be too high up on the player’s priority list when debating “What to play today?” If you’re a big puzzle fan, by all means, get this game. You will not regret it, if you’re just another gamer wondering what all the fuss is about, Eddy and his quest will tickle you in concept and maybe even impress you once or twice, but ultimately it will become another glass of water you leave out partly finished on the counter.