When I was a young chap, being a fireman sounded like the Best Job Ever. Naturally, back then, I didn't think about the dangers of fire, or the excruciating heat. I just loved the fact you could spray water at buildings with a powerful hose.
Nowadays, the idea of throwing myself into a burning building sounds about as appealing as jamming a fork in the toaster while petting a lion, but that appeal of seeing water battle against its age-old nemesis never diminishes.
Sprinkle taps into that child-like enthusiasm for the liquidy stuff, delivering 46 levels based around putting out fires on one of Saturn's moons before they burn the inhabitants' houses down.
It's also rather good fun.
Burning down the house
You control the little fire crew and their massive (about 100 times bigger than themselves) hose as they desperately try to contain the fires from spreading.
You move the spout up and down on its base by tap-dragging on it directly, angling the spray by swiping the screen, and firing off a powerful burst with a big red button in the lower right of the screen.
Each level gives you a limited amount of water to achieve your goals, so you can't just spray willy-nilly and hope everything works out in the end. The more water you have remaining once all the fires are out, the better your score, with each 'droplet' (stars, basically) earned unlocking more levels in a set. Temperance, therefore, is the key.
But just playing cautiously doesn't always work, as anyone who's ever fought in a Super Soaker fight will know.
Sometimes, you'll not only need to aim at fires, but also to use both the lie of the land and obstacles like boulders, blocks of ice, and buttons to help you reach and extinguish all the flames.
Washes out easily
The key to Sprinkle's appeal is its brilliant depiction of water physics. Imagine a 2D version of Xbox Live Arcade title From Dust's watery antics and you're on the right track.
Everything reacts as it should do, so if you keep spraying a powerful jet of aqua against a wall, expect there to be a buildup in front of the obstacle as the returning water strikes back against the newly fired stream.
These physics are expertly used throughout the game: completing levels is dependent on both the order in which you approach the fires, and on the precise moving of the obstacles. The aforementioned boulders, for example, can alternately help you (by plugging gaps) and hinder you (by messing up the stream and plugging the wrong gaps).
Hose him down
Elsewhere, the presentation is excellent, with the little inhabitants tending to stand around and leap out of the way of burning boulders, or to jump on top of ice blocks for a quick ride, or just mosey about, being cool.
The relative toughness of some of Sprinkle's later levels also means there's quite a bit of distance to be had if you're a rabid completionist, hell-bent on getting the top score on every level. Bear in mind, too, that the tricky-to-predict nature of the water means the gap between five droplets and four can be infuriating.
Alas, it's more than likely you'll blast your way through the game fairly swiftly if just playing for fun. But like Cut the Rope, it will be a very enjoyable, and downright pretty, few hours spent in good company.
It's not made me think twice about my career choice as a distinctly un-brave games journalist, but it does go to show that the appeal of spraying water from a powerful hose never gets old.
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