Who would have thought that a project submitted by a group of students during the 2010 GDC Independent Games Festival could lead to further publicity in the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network? Well now, the very same game is being developed and published by Neko Entertainment for the PlayStation Vita. This puzzle title called Puddle will have you maneuvering liquid through various obstacles while minimizing any spilling during the trip. But this time, you can enjoy this game on the go! Will the experience be any better on the portable console?
Puddle for the Vita is a direct port of the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network version. The objective of the game is to direct a puddle of liquid to the destination. It may sound simple, but it’ll take some knowledge of physics and timing to be successful. Puddle consists of eight different areas which transitions quite smoothly through various environmental settings, including inside a human body and outer space. And as the scenery changes, so does the physical make-up of the liquid you’re controlling. For instance, at some point, you’ll end up directing a puddle of molten metal which you need to consider its high temperature.
What’s really impressive with this version of Puddle is the innovative use of the Vita’s features. Controlling is very manageable especially when you look at the number of methods you can utilize. You can choose either the analog stick or shoulder buttons if you prefer the classic methods. Otherwise, you can go with the rear touchpad or even the motion controls, which uses the Vita’s gyroscope capabilities. In whatever option you choose, you’re basically tilting either left or right in order to guide the puddle of liquid. This works out to be very smooth and responsive, thereby making the focus be more about figuring out the puzzles rather than getting used to the controls. Personally, I find making use of the gyroscope feature to be the most enjoyable.
Completing a stage in Puddle will lead to results of your performance. To further elaborate, you will receive a ranking on how much of the liquid you have retained as well as the amount of time needed for you to finish the stage. The ranking itself is pretty unique and creative: you can end up with a “Cu” (which is copper according to the periodic table), “Ag” (silver), and “Au” (gold). By getting either “Ag” or “Au”, you’ll be able to get some extra unlockable content which is accessible in Laboratory mode. This is where you’re able to experiment with the various liquids and objects.
Puddle for the Vita remains just as difficult as its home console counterpart. There’s definitely some trial-and-error which will put players’ patience to the test. Essentially, it’ll take quite a bit of practice to get that perfect run. While the home console version may seem like a short-lived experience, the Vita’s is actually just right. Being able to play Puddle on a portable console makes it appropriate for a short and sweet session. Nothing is really being added other than the number of control options on the Vita. But that alone goes a long way in terms of Puddle’s value.
Although the game doesn’t seem to have much changes in graphics, it actually looks better on the Vita’s OLED screen. The movement of the liquid as it flows through and around obstacles depicted by silhouettes and shadows never looked more crisp and solid. Now the graphics may not necessarily stand out. But the visuals still demonstrate its quality. Puddle’s implementation of the music also helps set the tone and environment. And because of this, the overall presentation leaves an everlasting impression.
Although nothing significant in terms of gameplay or content is really being included in the Vita version of Puddle, the control options is what makes it shine. This particular title has already splashed into the Playstation Network for $9.99. If you’re looking for a game that provides a challenge to the brain but at the same time takes full advantage of this portable console, then you should find Puddle to be quite refreshing.