WaterWays in Review – Stuck In The Mud?

waterways1Meet Patch. He’s a cow, but he’s not just an ordinary cow. Ok maybe he is, but he has a very important job, which is to stop the world from flooding. Our water system, the Caretaker 3000, hadn’t been properly maintained and now it’s sprung a leak. It’s up to you to help Patch stop the leak from flooding the land.

Developed by Rough Cookie and published by TAITO Corporation, WaterWays seems to be a unique puzzler game. After playing a few levels I realized that this game was similar to Conniption Entertainment’s “Pathways”, however TAITO’s WaterWays utilizes the features of the iDevice to create a slightly complex twist…

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WaterWays, as said, is a unique twist on the Pathways game. The goal is to reach the end square without getting stuck. Travelling around is done by walking on land or just going with the flow (of water!). In the beginning of a level, Patch the cow will find himself somewhat far away from the leaking pipe, and must take a bold step across flooded grounds to fix it.

Now, the first few levels come out as straightforward with just paths leading towards the pipe. With the slightest tilt of the device, the landscape tilts as well. Wait, what’s this? It’s 3D! There are multiple layers featured in each level. Controls are simple; simply tap in the direction that you want Patch to move and he’ll move in that direction. Patch can walk up or down one level of ground as long as it’s not flooded with water, otherwise he jumps into the water and prepares to free-float.

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However, with the terrain having multiple levels, so too does the water. The water will always begin at a certain level, and it can be “flushed” down a level by tilting your device in one of four directions. Directions become important in this puzzle, because it does two things. Firstly, each level uses colored drawbridges which are simultaneously raised and lowered by flushing a level of water in the direction of the same color. Secondly, if Patch is floating in the water, flushing it will allow him to drift in the direction of the water flow. As long as you use your water wisely, Patch won’t end up being stuck in the mud at the bottom.

There are also a few obstacles in the puzzle, which seem to be there more as an annoyance than to actually making the puzzle harder. Rams and pillars push Patch in the other direction, and crashing into geese in the water will automatically cause you to restart the level.
Finally as one interesting tid-bit, standing around with no action in a puzzle will cause Patch to say something witty to keep you somewhat entertained.

Graphic-wise, WaterWays is well made even if it looks a bit block-like. Every bit of tilt moves the whole screen, which shows the 3D environment. The only downside is that if you tilt too far you’ll cause a flush, and accidental flushes usually mean you have to restart the level. I didn’t think too much of the sounds; it compliments the game, but isn’t very noticeable.

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The downside to WaterWays is that it only has 20 levels of different difficulties, and higher levels cannot be unlocked until the previous few have been played. There is no scoring system for time taken, number of moves made, etc, and I had almost no sense of achievement from completing a level.

For $2.99, WaterWays doesn’t promise much except graphics and a few short puzzles that will cause more frustration than fun. Given that the average person may not even pass half of the levels, the price would have been well spent elsewhere. Without more features, I found there wasn’t much point in continuing the puzzles after playing through most of them, and thus I’m giving WaterWays a Slap It rating. This game definitely ain’t no Cooking Mama.

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App Summary
Title:WaterWaysDeveloper:TAITO Corporation
Price:$2.99App Size:9.9 mb
  • 3D graphics.
  • Somewhat difficult levels
  • Too short.
  • No scoring/achievements.
  • Controls are not the most responsive.

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