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Portabliss: Fluidity: Spin Cycle (3DS eShop)


This is Portabliss, a column about downloadable games that can be played on the go.

The only thing a wizard loves more than wizardry is meddling in others' affairs. So of course a great wizard decides to use his magic to bring a storybook full of creatures and imaginative places to life. And of course things go awry and it's up to you to clean old robesy's mess up.

In Fluidity: Spin Cycle, you play as Eddy, an amorphous pool of water. Eddy is a water spirit on the hunt for rainbow spirits trapped within each page of the wizard's book, and he locates each one by overcoming various physics-based puzzles and challenges.

Controlling Eddy is mostly a gyroscopic affair – most of Fluidity: Spin Cycle is played by tilting around the 3DS to move Eddy as a pool of water through each page. Oddly enough, Eddy first comes to each page as a cartoonish rain drop with a face and feet, the latter of which I've found to be incredibly useful when trying to get around. Then again I can't turn into a pool of water so maybe that really is the way to go.

But I digress. Yes, most of playing Fluidity: Spin Cycle requires tilting around a 3DS, trying to nudge a loose collection of liquid over a hill or work it into a tiny, specific crack. These scenarios aren't anything too shocking at first, but thanks to some expertly-placed progression triggers, the scenarios steadily show more and more variety.

Once Eddy has a few abilities, Fluidity: Spin Cycle really opens up and shows its worth as a tranquil physics-puzzle game. Eddy isn't always just a pool of liquid: sometimes he has to pool all of his liquid together and concentrate it in one area; sometimes Eddy isn't even liquid at all. Eventually Eddy must change his state in order to progress past certain puzzles – one particular challenge had Eddy occupying all three states in succession, first a pool of liquid, then freezing himself only to be then converted into a vapor before he could move on.

It's these scenarios that really make Fluidity: Spin Cycle a wonderful and whimsical puzzler. The gyro-exclusive early parts can deter player progression, but Fluidity: Spin Cycle is worth pushing through some of those more mediocre moments. It may seem like you're mindlessly spinning your 3DS around at first, but it doesn't take long before you must take pause and scratch your head, blankly staring at your 3DS while you wonder what to do. Then you feel really dumb and mindlessly spin your 3DS around in anger at your own feelings of inadequacy in some last-ditch attempt to jam the square peg into the round hole.

And, really, isn't that what playing puzzle games is all about?

Fluidity is available on the 3DS eShop for $10.99. We're always looking for new distractions. Want to submit your game for Portabliss consideration? You can reach us at portabliss aat joystiq dawt com.

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