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.