It's unclear exactly why iPhone developer Rough Cookie is so enamoured with swimming cows, but WaterWays is the second title from the studio to feature moist, bovine characters. Unfortunately, it's probably the lesser of the two, though it gets an 'A' for surreal effort.
Patch (the cow) is up to his hooves in rising water. With your help he must make his way to a valve on the far side of the screen and turn off the uncontrolled flood. Simple enough in concept, but WaterWays turns out to be a real handful.
Navigating these increasingly overrun floodplains requires tilting your device to slosh the water around. By moving the liquid volume about the screen, you create waterways that allow Patch to move between safe areas of ground and ultimately make his way to the valve.
It's not as simple as tipping all the water over to one side of the screen and then dashing across the silt, though. The levels are built up of colour-coded bridges, which are activated by pouring the water into the similarly coloured area of the screen.
This aspect of the control system is responsive and intuitive, though the nature of the accelerometer means you need to be sat upright and alert to make proper use of the water activated valves. This isn't a problem unless you like to play your iPhone games in unusual positions (laying down in bed, for instance).
Patch, however, is directed by use of the touchscreen, which isn't nearly as accessible as the accelerometer - especially when you're required to operate both at once. Perhaps this bulging handful of controls will appeal to gamers who like a dexterous challenge that threatens to begin the onset of arthritis in your thumbs, but it's just as likely to frustrate as delight.
Still, the visuals hold true to Rough Cookie’s solid reputation, and combine something of a Boom Blox aesthetic with some great water effects and a cartoony atmosphere. The top-down view serves the hectic finger and thumbs controls admirably; it helps soften some of the aggravation felt when moving the cow and accidentally tipping the swimming pool over, drowning the poor sod.
But, we leave on a downer. For some inexplicable reason, there's no sort of save system. You can choose each completed level manually from the menu screen, but once you exit the campaign at any point you lose your progress. The fact that there’s no way to resume a game later on feels like a gaping hole in the design, which otherwise would be intriguing enough to plaster over the cracks of its controls.