The 3DS Shop is loaded up with all sorts of interesting little gems that make the system shine, many using more than just the 3D capabilities of the system to try and stand out. FLuidity: Spin Cycle utilizes the system’s accelerometer in a cute, storybook-themed follow-up to the acclaimed Wii title that shares its prefix. Romping through the levels as Eddy the Water Sprite, Fluidity: Spin Cycle‘s sure to leave you spun around with its charm and thought-provoking puzzles.
The game takes place in the pages of an enchanted storybook; a wizard charms the pages of the book with a series of colorful rainbow sprites, but an evil slime also manages to make its way in, mucking up the stories and trapping the rainbow sprites inside. Eddy dives in to save his sprite-sisters while fighting off the villainy of the Goop. Spin Cycle has you tilt the system back and forth to guide the puddle of water through the scenes, but it one-ups its predecessor by creating gravity-free levels that require 360 degrees of rotation (did you see that coming?) to solve the puzzles. It seems like such a minor addition but the enjoyment of the extra movement reveals itself quickly.
You won’t just be tilting your way to victory, though; you’ll need the tools spread throughout the game to help him on his way too. There are machines that freeze him into a block of solid ice, hoses that can spit him up to higher ground, and gears which he can move through to change the environment. But there are baddies, too: slugs and bats covered in Goop that can damage Eddy, worms which suck up items and send them far away, and other problems that’ll keep you from success. To combat those obstacles, you’ll need some of the special powers the wizard left in the book, and careful use of these powers keeps Eddy alive and safe. Starting with the ability to gather all Eddy’s water into one point, powers him scale walls by sticking to surfaces, blow apart barriers by exploding, and more. These new powers are pretty well-spread through the game, keeping the mechanics fresh as you play.
Everything about this game looks cute, but don’t let its style fool you; there are plenty of long, tough puzzles to challenge you; there are even boss fights that combine action with puzzling. Levels grow in both sheer size and complexity, but sometimes almost to the point of frustrating. Solutions take on a near-Goldbergian feeling as you lift a lever to move a hinge to roll a stone to trigger a cart that simply rolls down a track and off into nothingness because you missed one small switch 5 minutes ago. Also, Eddy’s water form is so loosely held together that it’s easy to lose significant portions of yourself even with frequent use of the Gather power. Combine this with the zero-G levels and you create some pretty atrocious camera problems as it tries to figure out which half of you it’s supposed to keep its eye on (usually it tries to split the middle and ends up displaying none of you at all). But these turn out to be only minor offenses in the grand scheme of things.
Fluidity: Spin Cycle can keep you hooked for hours with its powers, level design, and challenges. Working up to a 5-star rating in each level gets to be very tough very quickly, and even after that there are hidden puzzle pieces to discover that open up new challenge levels. Even aside from the gameplay itself, the cheery charm of the storybook characters, the artwork, and even Eddy himself just accents the positive feelings you get while playing. Check it out on the 3DS Shop for US$10.99.