Do you remember those old hand held games that were little containers filled with water, where you had to use quick bursts of water to get rings on a pole, or shapes in order? I used to play with them at my grandma’s house due to a lack of video games. Water Toy is reminiscent of those old games.
In this app, you have control over a single jet’s pressure, and limited tilt controls to direct the balls once they’re airborne (waterborne?) The goal of this game is to get all the balls into their cups, and while this may seem an easy task at first, it becomes challenging, and for a couple levels, maddening. There are platforms, some of which will tilt under your ball’s weight, random barriers to block your path, and pinball-styled bumpers that bounce the balls around on contact. I found this to be quite annoying at times, because a ball would bounce between the wall and a bumper for a good 15 seconds before falling down.
Gameplay is fairly straightforward. You hold the screen to build power, release to launch your ball, then tilt the phone to lean the balls to the side. Unfortunately, the tilt controls don’t do much, in terms of controlling where the ball goes. I’m pretty sure this was intentional, as it is more realistic to something falling underwater then if you had more power over their direction. Unfortunately, it’s also fairly annoying, especially since tilting is extremely limited.
I’m still torn on this point; do I like the lack of control or not? On the one hand, it makes you think a bit more, and it definitely helps the timing aspect of the game. On the other hand, it makes some levels much more frustrating. The trick to mastering this game is not fine control of the balls, but timing. For instance, firing your ball up at the right second, to get it to land on a platform which would take it to the cup, or firing your ball right as the jet had enough pressure to launch it to the right height. It is a fun game, but there are quite a few problems with it as well.
There is little sound in this game. I was hoping for some ambient background music, and perhaps some sound effects here and there to help immerse myself in this watery adventure. Unfortunately there is nothing aside from the main menu gurgles as you navigate to the level you want to play. There are only thirty levels in the game, and I got through them all within forty or so minutes. The ledges and movable paths are sometimes hard to see, due to the fact that all the objects on the map other then balls are translucent. There were times when I had to focus on a section to see what was there.
One more gripe I have is that the game is still pretty buggy. On my 3GS there was lag occasionally, including every time the last ball would fall in the cup. Twice the game gave me an odd warble and advanced to the next level while I still had empty cups, and there were a few other noticeable bugs. A couple improvements I think this game could use is a timer, like in the game Trace. A gauge that would tell you how powerful you are about to blast your ball would also be handy. Right now it’s all up to guesswork and eventually you will try to learn the time to hold for the right hight.
Presentation & Graphics
Not bad, though I think they could have done a better job on the backgrounds.
What sound? Aside from the menu and the occasional effect in-game, there is no sound whatsoever
Simple to use, but the bugs make it frustrating at times. The lack of control will appeal to some for realism and nastalgia, and frustrate the hell out of others.
Unfortunately, without any timer or scoring, once you get past the 30 levels, there’s not anything left to do.
It’s a fun game, but still buggy and needs more levels.