Wizards and dinosaurs give the puzzle platformer a slightly different tilt.
Fluidity was one of the most original and fun WiiWare titles, in which players control a puddle of water by tilting the Wii Remote, navigating the liquid through comic book-style pages. Spin Cycle brings this core gameplay to the 3DS, using its gyroscope to let players tilt the world.
The game strikes a more fantastical theme, with the story beginning in a wizard's study. The action happens within the wizard's magical storybook, which embodies a more painted look -- though it is still broken down into comic-like panels. There were four chapters listed, and I played the first one, which featured a prehistoric landscape willed with dinosaurs. The dinosaurs even moved in response to the tilting.
The gameplay remains broadly similar with water sloshing back and forth realistically, splashing apart and reforming as you traverse various landscapes and tunnels. With tilt to move and a button press to "jump," the game handles very intuitively. The "spin cycle" name implies that you can turn your 3DS all the way around to move through looping tunnels, though generally, if you turn the 3DS upside-down, the water doesn't fall to the top. Players collect water droplets throughout the levels and must make their way through passages to the end of the level where a rainbow drop resides. Along the way, various puzzles must be solved, such as moving solid gear to its target to open a door. Players must also take care not to lose too much water along the way. Rankings are based on how much water they collected and retained as well as how much time they took to complete the stage.
Perhaps in response to criticism that the original's lack of characters left a disconnect with the players used to character-based platformers, the drops of Spin Cycle are alive. Though still acting as a puddle of water during gameplay, upon reaching the rainbow drop, the puddle transforms into a smiling anthropomorphic water drop who dances with the rescued rainbow drop.
As in the original, collecting puzzle pieces found strewn throughout the pages will unlock mini-games, one for each chapter. I wasn't able to check any of them out, but they were named Gather Control, Ice Climb, Cloud Run, and Ice Cannon, implying that the various phases of water all make their return.
Fluidity is perfectly suited to the 3DS, and it will be another unique and compelling puzzler on the portable. The new levels and charmingly refined artistic design are a boon. Spin Cycle splashes onto 3DS on December 27.