Game Reviews

Dougie Moo's Aqua Antics

Star onStar onStar onStar onStar off
Dougie Moo's Aqua Antics

Have you ever played around with pond scum? Yes, there's a good chance you'll catch cholera in the process, but mucking about with the literal muck that floats on top of a scummy pond is as much fun as fiddling with the hard water skin that dances around in your mug of tea or the masses of bubbles that idly float on the surface of your bath water. Merging them into super scummy bubble monsters is my personal bath time favourite.

Did I say that out loud?

It's a fun little sidetrack and there's now a way of replicating such child play on your iPhone. Dougie Moo's Aqua Antics uses the phone's accelerometer to come up with an addictive little puzzler that's full of frustration and frolics in equal measure. Who'd have ever thought that tipping a cow around a swimming pool would be such fun?

The context of the game matters not since Aqua Antics boils down to a bizarre take on snooker. The cue ball is played by our bovine buddy Dougie Moo and, instead of potting balls, it's your job to use him to bounce them around and merge them.

Moving Mister Moo involves tipping your iPhone, with his inflatable dinghy bowing to the forces of gravity. The idea is to use Dougie to push together balls of the same colour in groups of either three or four. Matching up two small balls forms one large ball, which can then either be paired up with a small ball or another large ball formed out of two smaller ones.

Doing so earns you points (merging four balls offering more points than three) and also adds valuable seconds to the ever-ticking clock in the corner. Progressing from one level to the next relies on you following a specific order mapped out at the bottom of the screen. As balls are cleared from the pool, they leave behind an orb of the same colour - which needs to be picked up by our favourite cow in a specific sequence that changes each level.

In this way, it's perfectly possible to zoom through each level, only pairing and picking-up the particular balls the game demands. Should you aim for high scores though, with Aqua Antics gives you free reign to match up as many balls as you can. That's not as easy a prospect as it might sound, as it's far from plain sailing as the levels start to fly by - sharks, buoys and bombs all prove to be dangerous obstacles.

And this is where the frustration comes in, as managing to control the balls before said barriers even come into play can prove hard enough. When Aqua Antics starts to pull out all the stops there's a definite temptation just to call it a day. Even just a couple of balls getting away from you is a trifle testing. However, the short and sharp nature of Dougie Moo means that it's fairly likely that you'll pick it straight up again five minutes after putting it down.

Dougie Moo's Aqua Antics

Addictive and endearing action-puzzler that combines swimming cows with bobbing balls for fun-fuelled play
Keith Andrew
Keith Andrew
With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font. He's also Pocket Gamer's resident football gaming expert and, thanks to his work on, monitors the market share of all mobile OSes on a daily basis.