Wii

North America

Fluidity

by Neal Ronaghan - December 20, 2010, 9:45 pm PST
Total comments: 9

9.5

Join Neal as he tells you about the best hydro action game known to man.

Fluidity, published by Nintendo and developed by Curve Studios, is one of the more interesting 2D platformers of the year. In the game, you control water through four giant levels filled with a plethora of Super Mario 64 star-like Rainbow Drops. With devious and interconnected level design, Fluidity is one of WiiWare's best games, as long as you can deal with some finicky controls.

You control your pool of water by tilting the Wii Remote, which feels fluid (get it?) and natural. As you progress through the game, you unlock different abilities and forms. Eventually, your pool of water will be able to transform into an ice cube or a cloud, and you'll get different abilities in each form, such as the ability to cling to walls as an ice cube, and the ability to shoot lightning as a cloud.

The game's progression is somewhat non-linear and reminiscent of games such as Metroid or Castlevania. You start out with access to one of four large chapters of the Aquaticus, the fabled water book you're trying to save from the goopy and villainous Influence. In each chapter, you have to explore every nook and cranny to find different Rainbow Drops, puzzle pieces, and more to unlock access to different parts of the level, new abilities, and new levels. The chapters are expansive, spanning three "pages," each consisting of six panels of varying size that are bigger than the screen.

The mechanics of the game slowly evolve as you delve deeper into the world, making it an engrossing experience. Fluidity captures that "just one more" feeling as the Rainbow Drops are easy to find and tough to capture. Drop positioning is interwoven throughout the levels, and the puzzle solutions are almost always fun to perform and very clever. The game includes a wonderful map system that gives you a good view of each panel, showing you which ones house Rainbow Drops. There are few to no impediments to your progression other than your own ingenuity, or lack thereof.

The game's art style is extremely appealing, featuring vivid and bright artwork much like an extraordinarily bright comic book. The whole game commits to the book-like aesthetic, and the world that you inhabit feels fully realized. The music and sound compliment the art style as well, offering up nice background music and sound effects.

The only downside to Fluidity is its controls. The motion controls can become frustrating when you're trying to do precise platforming, especially as the game gets more difficult in the later areas. It's understandable when you control liquid, but the ice cube and cloud forms are tough to maneuver in tight quarters. The game seems to compensate for this by giving you abilities that make platforming easier, but it is still difficult to guide your ice cube or cloud precisely where you want it.

Fluidity is a long game, as there are 80 Rainbow Drops to collect, along with more collectibles strewn about each level. If you collect enough puzzle pieces, you'll unlock some playrooms, which are fun single-screen bonus levels that don't have that much lastability. Still, just blowing through the main game will likely take you more than five hours, and if you stop and smell the roses, you could be entrenched in the world for more than ten hours, easily.

Control quibbles aside, Fluidity is a wonderful game. With its clever, Metroid-like level design and novel premise, it is one of the top WiiWare games in recent memory. If you can tolerate some persnickety controls, then you should hop on the Wii Shop Channel and buy Fluidity right now. You likely won't find a better value on the service.

Summary

Pros
  • Awesome level design
  • Refreshing idea
  • Rewarding exploration
  • Spectacular presentation
Cons
  • Minor control issues

Talkback

Killer_Man_JaroTom Malina, Associate Editor (Europe)December 21, 2010

Eventually, your pool of water will be able to transform into an ice cube or a cloud, and you'll get different abilities in each form

I'm not sure if it's possible to "blast through the game in 5 hours", is that really what you did, Neal? I went and faced the last gauntlet of enemies almost as soon as I could and had sunk 12 hours into the game already at that point.

Quote from: Killer_Man_Jaro

At any time, at predetermined points or simply starting the level sometimes as ice or cloud?

Always at predetermined points, and you always start as a liquid.

I love this game, I really do. 76 out of 89 drops collected so far, and 48 out of 60 puzzle pieces. I still have a lot of "obvious" drops to pick up in unexplored parts of the last chapter, but there is at least one drop in each of the previous chapters that I have no idea how to get.

In chapter 1, that long corridor (above the bathtub) with a puzzle piece behind a breakable wall and a flower at the very end. I have no idea how to break through that wall. Any way I look at it, I can't get there in solid form. There must be another route somewhere, but hell if I can find it.

The 5 hour comment was more of a guess. I stopped to smell the roses and put like 10-15 hours into it. If you're just doing the minimum you need to progress, I feel like you can do it pretty quickly.

Hells to the yeah! Fluidity blows me away more and more every time I play it. I agree with Pandareus that completing the game would take at least 10 hours and likely much more. It is certainly a great value for 1200 points.

I also think the "playrooms" have lastability as they capture the "just a little bit more" feeling from a different angle.

Quote from: MegaByte

I also think the "playrooms" have lastability as they capture the "just a little bit more" feeling from a different angle.

I see your point, but I personally didn't spend more than a minute or so in the ones I unlocked (still trying to get the last one!).

kraken613December 28, 2010

This game is amazing! Thanks Jonny for telling us about it on RFN!!!

TJ SpykeDecember 28, 2010

The game looks pretty interesting from videos. I can't place it, but it looks like another game i've seen before (maybe one of the PixelJunk games) in terms of the gameplay.

Killer_Man_JaroTom Malina, Associate Editor (Europe)December 28, 2010

You're definitely thinking of PixelJunk Shooter. I didn't make the connection immediately, but the simplistic, colourful presentation, and especially the way fluids move in both games, is fairly similar.

Compare that... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9piUeupkQs

...with that. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sx7tgleb0ZE

The similarities are superficial though. The core mechanisms of how the two games play are really quite different.

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Fluidity Box Art

Genre
Developer
Controllers

Worldwide Releases

na: Fluidity
Release Dec 06, 2010
PublisherNintendo
RatingEveryone
eu: Hydroventure
Release Dec 24, 2010
PublisherNintendo
Rating3+

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