If video games have taught us anything in life, it's that no matter what sort of problem you're having, be it kidnapped princesses, disease, or vandalism, call a plumber. The hazmat-suited hero of Respire Games' Locom may not have a monogrammed hat or sweet dinosaur pal, but he and his trusty pressurized water tank can still navigate a booby-trap-filled sewer with the best of the world's plumbing superstars. Only he's not quite as athletic as Messrs. Mario & Mario, so instead of hopping and bounding like other platform game heroes, he lets his hose do the walking. Just aim his water nozzle with the mouse cursor, and click to fire a powerful stream that will send him soaring in the opposite direction. On the surface, that's all there is to it. But to those who knows the hose, our portly protagonist can run, jump, shoot, push, hover, and even fly, all with a single click! Just keep an eye on how much water he has left in his tank... It's a unique, simplistic control scheme that's both intuitive and tricky, and it makes for a mighty fine platforming challenge.
No game feels quite as nice as a physics-based platformer done well, and Locom's physics are as smooooth as buttah. The distance you aim from your character determines the power of your shot, and you move backwards in perfect accordance with Newton's third law. The controls are excellently responsive, and their simplicity of use makes the game wonderfully easy to pick up and play. While the game does have many raw platforming challenges, it also blends in several puzzle elements that revolve around manipulating other objects with your water. The puzzles themselves are simple, but require finesse of a different sort. You only have a limited amount of water in your tank, and while it can be refilled at checkpoints, you won't always be standing right next to one. Thus, you have to aim true and be efficient when completing puzzles, or else you'll empty you tank and get poofed back to a checkpoint. Thankfully, there are almost no penalties for failure, and you can keep trying to your heart's content. Occasionally, pushing switches with water alone can be a little finicky, but it's one of the only physics snags in the game. Truly, the game's greatest problem is that it's a bit short and over too quickly. But it's a compact experience that utilizes each of its simple tricks to their fullest, to become a minimalist game with maximal-est (is that a word?) fun. Locom is a high-pressure blast!