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Review: Fluidity: Spin Cycle for 3DS

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Title: Fluidity: Spin Cycle
Price: $10.99
System(s): 3DS
Release Date: December 27, 2012
Publisher (Developer): Nintendo (Curve Studios)
ESRB Rating: “Everyone” for Comic Mischief and Mild Fantasy Violence

In 2010, the Wii got a unique puzzle game called Fluidity. It was an interesting adventure with Metroidvania elements that involved helping a water spirit go through the Aquaticus, a legendary, sentient magic encyclopedia, to help cleanse it of a goop called the Influence and rescue Rainbow Spirits. It was heralded as one of the best WiiWare games released and players rejoiced. Now, we get to go through it all again with Fluidity: Spin Cycle, a portable take on the original game with a whole new book filled with Rainbow Sprites and infected by Goop that needs cleansing.

Wash away what’s wrong to save what’s right.

Once upon a time in the world of Fluidity: Spin Cycle, there was a wizard. Rather than using his magic for important things, like stopping world hunger or curing cancer, he decided his magical skills and potions would best be used for something menial, like bringing his favorite book to life. He grabs the Rainbow Spirits potion and pours it over the book, which brings the illustrations within to life.

Apparently, magical potions have a tendency to display sentience. Goop, a dark magic potion that resides on the shelf next to the Rainbow Spirits, saw what happened and, in an act of jealousy, dumped itself into the book. All the magical scenes and Rainbow Spirits within are now in danger.

Fortunately Eddy, a Water Spirit potion also encased on the shelf saw what the Goop did. It tips itself into the book as well, in the hopes of repairing the damage done and rescuing the Rainbow Spirit sisters before the Wizard wakes in the morning.

Twisting, swaying, turning and tapping.

Fluidity: Spin Cycle tasks players with controlling Eddy in 60 levels (and four unlockable playrooms) as he searches the prehistoric, medieval, flying and outer space sections of the book for the trapped Rainbow Spirits. Where in the original Fluidity abilities had to be acquired to peruse one giant world, Curve Studios broke up Fluidity: Spin Cycle into levels and it’s a choice that works quite well. The special abilities are still there – sometimes Eddy will need to transform into a fog, become a block of ice or use one of many other special powers – but they now are pretty much doled out when needed for specific areas.

Each level could almost be considered similar to those found in the typical iOS or Android game, making Fluidity: Spin Cycle a true, mobile title. Players earn stars for completing each level, which shows how much was accomplished. Collecting errant water drops to make Eddy larger and completing the level within a certain amount of time can earn players a five star rating. Not to mention a puzzle piece found in each level can unlock Playroom levels for extra exploration and water-play. The higher rating doesn’t really do anything, other then bestow bragging rights. It’s more of a means of showing that everything in that area was found, ever challenge met. Not to mention I’ve never had to spend more than five minutes on a level, making it ideal for pick up and go play.

Fluidity: Spin Cycle‘s control method is also quite unique and works very well. The entire game is pretty much played with gyroscopic controls. I mean, Eddy is a pool of water. It’s not like you could just move the directional pad or circle pad to make him move. No, I had to pitch the 3DS left and right, and sometimes even turn it upside down, to guide Eddy through areas. Yes, the shoulder buttons can make the water “jump” and the touch screen can be tapped to make Eddy use a special ability or flip a switch, but I spent most of the time moving and flipping the 3DS. I imagine it made me look a little ridiculous when I played it on the Metra, but I don’t care. It was fun.

One of the things I really liked is that Fluidity never stumped me. Yes, there is only one right answer to every puzzle and one right way to get the hidden puzzle piece in each area, but I didn’t feel like Curve Studios was trying to pull one over on me. I know that what I had available could at the very least solve the area within the time limit and that was very reassuring. Granted, I usually did go over on time just because I wanted to explore and take my time. Fortunately, I was never penalized for that either.

Fluidty: Spin Cycle is good, clean fun.

Fluidty: Spin Cycle is a solid timesink. It’s a clever little game that uses the 3DS’ gyroscopic controls wonderfully and tells a sweet little story while also offering a more than adequate assortment of levels to explore. In fact, I was thoroughly impressed as how well it controls, considering I was mainly twisting the 3DS around and hoping water would go where I wanted, and surprisingly enough it almost always did. There’s also a bit of replay value in there for completionists, as it will take at least one or two passes through each of the levels to collect the 56 hidden puzzle pieces to unlock the Playroom areas. The only downside is the price, as at $10.99 Fluidity: Spin Cycle is one of the more expensive eShop exclusives. Still, it’s a fun endeavor and people who do take the plunge should be pleased.

Site [Fluidity: Spin Cycle]

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