Common sense dictates that when designing a video game you should ensure that the first half an hour or so is as breathtaking as possible, so that your players are keen to see the rest.
Physics-based puzzler Puddle was not designed around this principle. In fact, the first hour of the game is rather tedious, with trial-and-error gameplay and pretty dull scenarios.
When Puddle finally does decide to get interesting, however, it cranks the excite-o-meter up 11, with huge levels of variety, clever puzzles, and multiple 'wow' moments.
It's as simple as this - you control a pool of liquid by tilting the world left and right. Get the liquid to the end of the level and it's on to the next.
There's a huge range of fluid types, from simple water to chemical gloop that explodes if it slams into walls too hard, and oil that which catches alight and spreads fire until all your liquid is gone.
The levels and settings also ramp up the excitement - we don't want to spoil anything, but let's just say that later on you'll be throwing liquid around some rather odd and very interesting areas, making for a great sense of progression.
Take a splash
Once the level design and puzzles start to get really good, the unforgiving difficulty becomes less of a glaring problem - particularly since you can restart levels instantly, with nary a loading screen to delay you.
It helps that the controls are fantastic. You use the rear touchpad as default, and the game offers three other control methods in case you want to switch. The visuals, too, are really lovely, as the liquids slosh around the silhouetted backdrops with only a hint of frame-rate drop here and there.
Add to this a generous amount of content for a downloadable title and online leaderboards to keep you coming back for more and Puddle is definitely one of our top picks among the downloadable PS Vita titles.
Force your way through the first iffy hour of Puddle, and you'll find glory and wonderment beyond.
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