Review: Fluidity: Spin Cycle for Nintendo 3DS

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Fluidity: Spin Cycle is a game which tends to break conventions, and does well for itself as a result.

For starters, it breaks away from what came before in Fluidity for WiiWare by adding a bit more character and substance (so to speak) to the game’s setting. Rather than simply controlling a pool of water, you’re now in control of a sentient Water Spirit named Eddy, who is out to rescue its Rainbow Spirit friends from the dangers of a malevolent Goop which is now infesting the pages of an old storybook. It’s largely the same idea as in the original game, but with a bit more personality and mythology injected into it.

The other convention the game breaks is that it is a Nintendo 3DS game without any 3D in it at all, at least from what I could tell while playing it. This makes sense, given that the chief gameplay mechanic involves twisting and turning your Nintendo 3DS around to control the water and lead it where you want it to go, as though you were actually controlling a maze-like container of water.

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It’s more than just moving Eddy around, though. You’ll be seeking out hidden puzzle piece bonuses, collecting gears to unlock doors to proceed, activating different gadgets to manipulate the environment, and gaining new abilities and forms, such as ice and clouds, or being able to briefly pull your watery mass together.

Unfortunately, there’s a slight awkwardness in some specially-denoted stages which have you rotate the Nintendo 3DS a full 360 degrees, rather than the traditional left-to-right tilts. In some cases, text boxes even appear upside down on the top screen (under the assumption that you’re viewing it right-side up), which is surprisingly disorienting, though not to a troubling degree. These stages can be a slight chore to deal with, particularly when it comes to pressing buttons or touchscreen icons in order to perform certain actions while holding the system at the awkward angles.

In addition to the aforementioned puzzle pieces, each stage has a ranking of up to five stars you can earn. This is broken down into a few factors, including how many water droplets you’ve managed to gather throughout the stage and whether or not you completed it within a certain time. Note that there isn’t a proper time limit, so you needn’t feel rushed, but an alarm sounds when the window for extra points towards your final score has passed. Naturally, you can revisit stages to attempt to get a higher score.

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The graphics are colorful and detailed, looking like something right out of a storybook, and the music has a certain calming ambiance to it as you try to figure your way through the game’s puzzles. Meanwhile, Eddy and he Rainbow Spirits have simple, charming, and friendly designs which suit the game well. It all comes together to form a package which feels welcoming without seeming childish, a hat trick which is difficult for some to pull off.

All in all, Fluidity: Spin Cycle marks a positive direction for the series from its predecessor. With any luck, the Wii U will receive its own hydroventure featuring Eddy, and the independence of the GamePad from the television screen will make 360 degree gameplay a bit less troublesome.

Fluidity: Spin Cycle was released for the Nintendo 3DS on December 27th, 2012 at a price of $10.99 in the Nintendo 3DS eShop.

A review copy was provided by Nintendo of Canada.

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David Oxford

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you're interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.