Wednesday, July 29, 2009 at 10:00AM by Johnny5
When I was a kid, I was amazed at the treasure trove of wonders that awaited me at my local dentist's office. There were blocks and climbing things and all sorts of magazines, but most importantly there were water toys.
They were fantastic little water-filled games. The goal was to launch your "ball" into the watery air (I know that makes no sense, but you know what I mean) using a blast of precious breathable oxygen and then tilt the toy to make your ball fall onto one of the designated half-circle trays.
Different water toys had different numbers of balls and trays. The real challenge of the game was to get all three (or four, or five) balls into their respective trays without knocking the other ones out. It was a skill game. It was a puzzle game. It was a great way to wile away the minutes and distract yourself from the impending drill.
The only problem with the water toys of my childhood, though, was that once I mastered them, the fun just disappeared. I wanted more challenges.
Thank you iPhone. You've made this happen. And while Water Toy is a lot of fun, it's not without major flaws.
First the obvious perks. Water Toy has a whopping thirty levels. That's like buying thirty individual dentist office distractions, all for the low low price of $0.99.
The levels get progressively more difficult with the addition of more balls, more obstacles, and even bubble machines that throw off your tilt trajectory.
The design is nice, simple and reminiscent of the original toys that occupy such an interesting part of my childhood psyche. Big thumbs up on that front.
The tilting takes some getting used to, but once you are able to get the rhythm of it (there is some delay in the response of the app) there are no worries.
I've got three big problems with the app, though. Let's take them one at a time.
First and foremost, it seems terribly unstable. Load times are sometimes unbearable (other times it loads fine), and the app has been known to simply shut down without warning. Not sure if this is a problem on the 3GS (no, I haven't upgraded), but there are huge lags as the game really taxes the iPhone processor more than it should. Big flaw.
Second, the "ball launch" is frustrating. The idea is that if you tap the screen for longer, more bubbles build up and you launch the ball further. Sometimes I hold down for a long time and get very little "oomph," though. I don't know if the power gage is resetting or what, but it gets very annoying in later levels involving multiple balls and very careful timing.
Finally, I've reached a point on level sixteen that I just can't get past. I'm sure that's a flaw on my part, but I breezed through the previous levels and then just hit a stopping point. I hate when that happens.
Still, sixteen playable (for me) levels ain't too bad, and for $0.99, this one is a pretty decent buy that gave me a good couple of hours of gameplay along with a lot of replay value. It would be nice to have something like a timer or a point system, but it's more important to fix the current flaws first.
And if you're like me, $0.99 is a small price to pay for epic tooth-filling filled flashbacks.
You can buy Water Toy HERE.