Where's My Water? 2
After half a dozen sequels and spin-offs, we still don't know where all that water has gone. We do know how to move it around, though, which is what Disney Mobile's brand new physics puzzle game is all about! Where's My Water? 2 brings Swampy, Allie and Cranky back for more dirt digging and ducky finding, adding an ocean of challenges, items and additions to this free to play sequel.
The gameplay in Where's My Water? 2 is the same as the games that came before it. Each level presents you with Swampy's bathtub at the bottom of the screen, with water pockets trapped above. Between you and Swampy's shower are solid rocks, movable blocks, levers, switches, spouts and most importantly, removable dirt. Simply trace your finger along the screen to create a path for the water to travel. Get it all to Swampy to complete the stage, conserving every drop you can along the way!
Gameplay is structured a little differently in Where's My Water? 2. You now have a map of sorts to travel through, unlocking stages by collecting a certain number of duckies in each level. You also gain access to special challenge stages that do crazy things like turn the world upside-down or force you not to collect ducks. These add a nice change of pace to the series formula, though they do end up feeling like they were thrown in there just to justify the duck-based level locking system.
Analysis: While the gameplay of Where's My Water? 2 remains mostly unchanged, the sequel goes down the dark path of freemium monetization in several unfavorable ways. For starters, there's energy to worry about. Just like those cash-in Facebook games, you're limited to the number of things you can do by an energy bar that depletes each time you play a level. You gain more over time, but it's always there threatening to end your fun just when you're starting to get into it. An expensive in-app purchase permanently increases the bar's size, but once you see the price you'll run away in terror.
It's a bit of a disappointment to see an imaginative and successful series like this go down the path of "everybody's doin' it so we are too". The design went from a pleasant level of creativity to a rubber stamp copy of every other mobile game out there, adopting many of the features that suck the life out of otherwise fantastic games. The items it added are fun but completely unnecessary, shoved in there as an excuse to monetize the product. It's a similar situation as the Plants vs. Zombies sequel selling out, though Where's My Water? 2 doesn't commit the crime quite as harshly.
If you don't mind dealing with an aggressively monetized (and Facebook integrated) game, Where's My Water? 2 still provides a lot of entertainment. It's a free download and gives you quite a lot of things to do without spending any money. Plenty of unique challenges, lots of things to collect, and more alligators than your average swamp party. That's a good thing, by the way.
NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on the iPad 3. Game was available in the North American market at the time of publication, but may not be available in other territories. Please see individual app market pages for purchasing info.