Like most magicians that perform at birthdays, HydroTilt XL brings all the bells and whistles but leaves the fun at home. Before I say anything else, let me pull out my “In My Opinion” shield so that I can adequately prepare myself for any dissent.
Supporters of this game will undoubtedly cite the proficient graphics, catchy music, fluid controls, robust level editor and all around good presentation of this title. I would not object to any of their claims, Hydro Tilt checks all of these bullet points and provides a robust feature set for the end user. Unfortunately, I found the game to be lacking in fun.
The player’s mission in Hydro Tilt is to guide a little droplet of water (that can be changed into ice or steam as well) to the goal. One moves the water about by tilting the iPhone in the direction they wish to move and this works quite well thanks to the game’s quick and easy calibration tool that is accessible at all times. Players can zoom out to see the levels in their entirety, and often the puzzles are easy to solve but the solutions are tough to execute. There are plenty of neat little elements to the level designs, and it is apparent that they were well thought out.
Certain parts of the levels can only be accessed by one of water’s three states: liquid, solid and gaseous. This is where the thinking kicks in, as the player must have some sort of plan if they ever hope to reach the goal. Some tiles in the level will fall as you move over them, others will activate bridges, transform your droplet into ice, and the list goes on. Variety is in no short supply.
By now one must be wondering why I did not enjoy the game. To be honest, it is hard to entirely discern why exactly I do not enjoy my time with the game. Unlike Pixar’s Wall-E, for which I can provide an entire laundry list to describe my seemingly unique hatred in the face of its critically acclaimed excellence, the reasons I do not like Hydro Tilt evade even myself. I could simply throw out the boredom flag, but I feel that a more detailed reasoning is warranted. The conclusion that I have arrived at is that Hydro Tilt is yet another proficient puzzler to hit this platform. So while the game does almost everything right, there are also many other puzzle games that are executed just as well as Hydro Tilt and I simply am waiting for the bar to be raised. Hydro Tilt, in my opinion, easily meets but does not raise said bar.
Critically, Hydro Tilt has done quite well for itself and I am fully aware that I am likely in the minority with my distaste for this game. As a result, I am not going to hammer down on the game’s score simply because I personally found it boring; there will be many readers who find their experience with Hydro Tilt to be a positive one. This is simply a case in which I did not like something, but am well aware of its merits. (Kind of like Wall-E)
There is some great 3d work in Hydro Tilt, the environments look a tad bland.
I dig the music for the game, and it also has iTunes support.
They can be sensitive at times, the calibration is a nice feature. At times I felt that I was struggling with moving around but that seems to be a necessity for tilting games. I did not feel that the controls were poor, but rather simply wished that there was less of a focus on trick maneuvers.
If the 25 main levels are not enough to satiate your desire for Hydro Tilt (three did it for me), the devs have included a full on level editor. My only question being, how likely is it that you have a friend with the game that in addition cares enough about it to want to play one of your levels?
While I found it an exceedingly dull experience, I completely understand how others can have fun with this title.