Kung Fu Rabbit Review (PS Vita): “A Charmingly Addictive 2D Platformer”

Kung Fu Rabbit PS Vita Wallpaper

Sony has really become a powerhouse of securing indie titles for their platforms as of late, and the Vita has a new indie game from the developers of Puddle, Kung Fu Rabbit. Originally, this title was released on iOS and Android devices last year by developers CTools, Cazap and Bulkypix. This Spring, Wii U received an enhanced version of the 2D platformer courtesy of Neko Entertainment, and has now been brought to the PS Vita. In an interview I conducted with them during the Wii U version’s release, Neko Entertainment stated that they thought it was something great, but the touch controls didn’t provide it the precision that it needed. The game certainly has a very charming, cutesy style to it, but how well does it play?

Kung Fu Rabbit starts off with a comic-book style story panel being displayed, showing your fellow rabbits being kidnapped. However, abductors left one rabbit behind…you. It’s up to you to platform your way through 80 levels to save all the abducted rabbits. While the story isn’t much to write home about, it’s there to give you the basic reason as to why you’re navigating the levels. Plus, while there may not be much story, the character designs are very appealing.

Kung Fu Rabbit Vita Gameplay 1

The gameplay is very reminiscent of old-school 2D platformers, as well as some recent indie ones such as Super Meat Boy. Each level has you running, jumping, wall jumping, collecting carrots and slashing enemies as you reach the goal to rescue a kidnapped rabbit. The game takes place within three worlds, each containing 20 levels to tackle. The controls are incredibly simple and responsive, as any 2D platformer should be. You’ll use the control stick or D-Pad to move, the X button to jump and the Square button to use items. Neko Entertainment wasn’t kidding when they said they wanted to provide proper controls, so you can use the X button, Touch Screen or Rear Touchpad to control jumping. Since this is a platformer, jumping is a tremendous element to the game, so precision is a must. Thankfully, controlling Rabbit is a charm, as his running speed and jumping feels just right. Even jumping off walls works the way it should with the right amount of physics applied. Rabbit can attack enemies, however in a non-traditional method. Instead of being given an attack button, Rabbit will be able to slash an enemy automatically by simply approaching it where their “Achilles Heel” is. Enemies will have a certain spot where they’ll have a glowing blue design, and it is here where you can attack them. If it’s behind them, then you’re going to have to run into them from behind. If it’s on their head, then you can give them the good ol’ “goomba stomp” that we’ve grown accustom to since the days of Mario. In each level, you’ll come across carrots. There are three regular carrots in every level, alongside a gold carrot that gives you extra. The carrots are used to purchase items for you to use, whether it be single-use, artifacts or unlockables (such as the Mexican Avenger costume). The single-use items vary from cleansing the area of enemies, activating checkpoints, deflecting projectiles, etc. Artifacts are essentially perks, which will enhance Rabbit’s abilities: “Carrot Juice” will let you run faster and jump higher, while “Death from the Sky” allows you to defeat any enemy by simply jumping on them (regardless of their weak spot), “Feet of Ice” will freeze breakable platforms so that you can pinpoint your jump better, “Claws” lets you slide down walls slower, “Feather” decreases your falling speed, and lastly, “Master of Arms” lets you run into any enemy and defeat them instantly (basically making you invincible against them). The catch with the Artifacts? You can only equip one at a time. If a level is giving you a hard time, you’ll want to figure out which Artifact to bring with you.

Kung Fu Rabbit Vita Gameplay 3

Kung Fu Rabbit’s platforming starts off very simple, allowing anyone to be able to dive into the game. However, as you progress, expect the difficulty to certainly ramp up, demanding for some spot-on platforming skills. Aside from the enemies, Rabbit will have to worry about the “dark goo” that fills some of the platforms. Whether you’re jumping over dark goo, or wall jumping precisely to avoid it on walls, it’s a big obstacle throughout the game. As a matter of fact, almost everything poses a threat to Rabbit, as he dies instantly when coming in contact with an enemy directly or the dark goo. Thankfully, levels are very short and the game rarely leads to frustration. The overall difficulty curve is actually nicely handled and never feels like it spikes dramatically. Aside from the 60 main levels, there’s also a bonus world with 20 additional levels. These will test your skills further and if you wanted more of a challenge, you can unlock the game’s hard mode called “Hardcore Rabbit”. Basically, this will have you revisit levels but they’ll have a plethora of extra obstacles and enemies placed around. This mode alone will double the game’s length and keep you coming back for more.

Kung Fu Rabbit’s visuals are really appealing to the eye. The art direction for the game is very charming, with nice color palettes and a smooth frame rate. The character animations are a bit simplistic but that doesn’t detract from the overall experience. The environments definitely have that “asian” feel to them, whether you’re in the forest, cave or indoor dojos. It may not be anything overly complex, but that’s fine, as the game’s aesthetic is certainly done right. Thanks to the Vita’s OLED screen, the colors really seem to pop out of the screen. Audio wise, there are a few music tracks here and while they capture the setting appropriately, they become a little repetitive. Also, there is some “voice-work” done for the characters. I use the term “voice-work” lightly because there’s no dialogue, mainly just chants from the creatures and Rabbit. However, hearing Rabbit cheer when he rescues a kidnapped rabbit is very catchy. Funny enough, when Rabbit would die, his shout reminded me a bit of the Rabbids from “Rayman Raving Rabbids”. One of the main issues I had with Kung Fu Rabbit was it’s menu design. There are images for each icon to give you an idea of what part of the menu you’ll be accessing, but it just feels somewhat off when navigating them. It’s nothing detrimental that severely hurts the game, but something that stuck out immediately and never really adjusted to. On the plus side, the menus provide for full touch-screen navigation or through regular buttons, so you have either option. Also, for trophy hunters, this is a game that contains 17 trophies but don’t expect a platinum trophy in this list. The trophies are very easy to get and but a fun set to get nonetheless.

Kung Fu Rabbit Vita Gameplay 5

Kung Fu Rabbit is a game that’s simple to pickup-and-play, yet challenging enough for gamers of all types. Don’t let the game’s cutesy appearance turn you away. This is no doubt a fun and addictive game that you’ll find yourself coming back to. For the $4.99 asking price, there’s a good amount of content to be found here and is almost impossible not to recommend. If you’re a fan of platformers, don’t think, just buy this game.

Overall Score: 8.0 out of 10 = BUY IT!

A special thank you to Neko Entertainment for providing us a review copy for Kung Fu Rabbit!

Enjoy our review? Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter: @GamersXTREME for the latest in gaming news and reviews.

Curious to how our review system works? Check out the About section.

Kung Fu Rabbit Review (Wii U eShop): “A Charmingly Addictive 2D Platformer”

Kung Fu Rabbit Wallpaper

The indie title trend continues on the Wii U, this time with an enhancement to a mobile device game. Kung Fu Rabbit is a 2D platformer that was originally released by developers CTools, Cazap and Bulkypix for the iOS and Android devices last year. Developer Neko Entertainment liked the game so much, that they worked with the original developers to get the appropriate access to bring the game over to the Wii U eShop. In an interview I conducted with them, Neko Entertainment stated that they thought it was something great, but the touch controls didn’t provide it the precision that it needed. While Europe has had the game for a few weeks, North Americans finally get the opportunity to try out the game for themselves. The game certainly has a very charming, cutesy style to it, but how well does it play?

Kung Fu Rabbit starts off with a comic-book style story panel being displayed, showing your fellow rabbits being kidnapped. However, abductors left one rabbit behind…you. It’s up to you to platform your way through 80 levels to save all the abducted rabbits. While the story isn’t much to write home about, it’s there to give you the basic reason as to why you’re navigating the levels. Plus, while there may not be much story, the character designs are very appealing.

Kung Fu Rabbit Gameplay 1

The gameplay is very reminiscent of old-school 2D platformers, as well as some recent indie ones such as Super Meat Boy. Each level has you running, jumping, wall jumping, collecting carrots and slashing enemies as you reach the goal to rescue a kidnapped rabbit. The game takes place within three worlds, each containing 20 levels to tackle. The controls are incredibly simple and responsive, as any 2D platformer should be. You’ll use the control stick or D-Pad to move, the A button to jump and B button to use items. Neko Entertainment wasn’t kidding when they said they wanted to provide proper controls, so you can use the GamePad, Wii U Pro Controller, Wii Remote and Wii Pro Controller…and they all feel right for the game. Since this is a platformer, jumping is a tremendous element to the game, so precision is a must. Thankfully, controlling Rabbit is a charm, as his running speed and jumping feels just right. Even jumping off walls works the way it should with the right amount of physics applied. Rabbit can attack enemies, however in a non-traditional method. Instead of being given an attack button, Rabbit will be able to slash an enemy automatically by simply approaching it where their “Achilles Heel” is. Enemies will have a certain spot where they’ll have a glowing blue design, and it is here where you can attack them. If it’s behind them, then you’re going to have to run into them from behind. If it’s on their head, then you can give them the good ol’ “goomba stomp” that we’ve grown accustom to since the days of Mario. In each level, you’ll come across carrots. There are three regular carrots in every level, alongside a gold carrot that gives you extra. The carrots are used to purchase items for you to use, whether it be single-use, artifacts or unlockables (such as the Mexican Avenger costume). The single-use items vary from cleansing the area of enemies, activating checkpoints, deflecting projectiles, etc. Artifacts are essentially perks, which will enhance Rabbit’s abilities: “Carrot Juice” will let you run faster and jump higher, while “Death from the Sky” allows you to defeat any enemy by simply jumping on them (regardless of their weak spot), “Feet of Ice” will freeze breakable platforms so that you can pinpoint your jump better, “Claws” lets you slide down walls slower, “Feather” decreases your falling speed, and lastly, “Master of Arms” lets you run into any enemy and defeat them instantly (basically making you invincible against them). The catch with the Artifacts? You can only equip one at a time. If a level is giving you a hard time, you’ll want to figure out which Artifact to bring with you.

Kung Fu Rabbit Gameplay 2

Kung Fu Rabbit’s platforming starts off very simple, allowing anyone to be able to dive into the game. However, as you progress, expect the difficulty to certainly ramp up, demanding for some spot-on platforming skills. Aside from the enemies, Rabbit will have to worry about the “dark goo” that fills some of the platforms. Whether you’re jumping over dark goo, or wall jumping precisely to avoid it on walls, it’s a big obstacle throughout the game. As a matter of fact, almost everything poses a threat to Rabbit, as he dies instantly when coming in contact with an enemy directly or the dark goo. Thankfully, levels are very short and the game rarely leads to frustration. The overall difficulty curve is actually nicely handled and never feels like it spikes dramatically. Aside from the 60 main levels, there’s also a bonus world with 20 additional levels. These will test your skills further and if you wanted more of a challenge, you can unlock the game’s hard mode called “Hardcore Rabbit”. Basically, this will have you revisit levels but they’ll have a plethora of extra obstacles and enemies placed around. This mode alone will double the game’s length and keep you coming back for more.

Kung Fu Rabbit’s visuals are really appealing to the eye. The art direction for the game is very charming, with nice color palettes and a smooth frame rate. The character animations are a bit simplistic but that doesn’t detract from the overall experience. The environments definitely have that “asian” feel to them, whether you’re in the forest, cave or indoor dojos. It may not be anything overly complex, but that’s fine, as the game’s aesthetic is certainly done right. Even playing on the GamePad looks great, with barely any loss of visual quality. Audio wise, there are a few music tracks here and while they capture the setting appropriately, they become a little repetitive. Also, there is some “voice-work” done for the characters. I use the term “voice-work” lightly because there’s no dialogue, mainly just chants from the creatures and Rabbit. However, hearing Rabbit cheer when he rescues a kidnapped rabbit is very catchy. Funny enough, when Rabbit would die, his shout reminded me a bit of the Rabbids from “Rayman Raving Rabbids”. One of the main issues I had with Kung Fu Rabbit was it’s menu design. There are images for each icon to give you an idea of what part of the menu you’ll be accessing, but it just feels somewhat off when navigating them. It’s nothing detrimental that severely hurts the game, but something that stuck out immediately and never really adjusted to. On the plus side, the menus provide for full touch-screen navigation or through regular buttons, so you have either option.

Kung Fu Rabbit Gameplay 4

Kung Fu Rabbit is a game that’s simple to pickup-and-play, yet challenging enough for gamers of all types. Don’t let the game’s cutesy appearance turn you away. This is no doubt a fun and addictive game that you’ll find yourself coming back to. For the $4.99 asking price, there’s a good amount of content to be found here and is almost impossible not to recommend. If you’re a fan of platformers, don’t think, just buy this game.

Overall Score: 8.0 out of 10 = BUY IT!

A special thank you to Neko Entertainment for providing us a review copy for Kung Fu Rabbit!

Enjoy our review? Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter: @GamersXTREME for the latest in gaming news and reviews.

“Kung Fu Rabbit” Developer Interview with Neko Entertainment

20130430-070717.jpg

A few weeks ago, European Wii U owners were able to check out Neko Entertainment’s latest release, Kung Fu Rabbit. This Thursday (May 2nd), North American Wii U owners will be able to do the same (our review coming soon). We reached out to Neko Entertainment’s QA Manager, Sébastien Chipot, to provide us an interview about their latest release:

Marcello: First off, thanks for taking the time to provide us this interview. Kung Fu Rabbit was first released by CTools, Cazap and Bulkypix for the iOS and Android devices. How did you guys go about getting the backing to provide a Wii U version to the game?

Sébastien: When we saw the game, the first time, we found it to be great! The graphics are really cute, but the game is not that easy. It is a mix between beauty/fun and skills. The only thing we did not like was the controls (the virtual pad is not the best control to fit with this kind of game). So if could have the same game, but with a classic controller, it would be perfect! We realized the Wii U was the perfect platform!

Marcello: What changes (if any) were made to the Wii U version from the original mobile version?

Sébastien: We did not made a lot of changes. As I said, the game was already really enjoyable. We changed some Achievements, we added different controls (Wii U GamePad, Classic controller, Wii U Pro Controller, Wii Remote…) to be sure anyone would enjoy the game as they prefer, and fixed some issues already present in the iOS version.

Marcello: This is now your second title available for the Wii U via eShop. How was the conversion process for you guys to bring a game that was originally designed for the mobile devices to the Wii U? Was it fairly simple or was the Wii U architecture vastly different to adapt to?

Sébastien: It is never easy to bring a mobile game to a platform like the Wii U. But we have a strong experience now, and that’s true, developing Puddle on the Wii U first, helped us to know more about that console. So we did not have to face so many problems during Kung Fu Rabbit’s Project. The only main change was the interface, as we had to change some things, especially avoiding to touch the screen of the GamePad (the touch is a nice thing, but your hands hide a part of the screen, so we preferred to focus on simple but efficient controls : the Buttons and Control pad).

Marcello: It’s a fair assumption to believe you guys are finding the Wii U to be a strong platform to develop for, as this is already your second title for it within a few months. Are there any other projects in the pipeline for the Wii U?

Sébastien: We are waiting for the final approval from Nintendo for our game Cocoto Magic Circus 2. We also have other projects on the Wii U, but it is too early to talk about it. I will contact you later when we will have more information to share about it.

Marcello: The Miiverse has really taken off as an integral element to the Wii U. What has it been like for you guys, the developers, to be in tune with fellow gamers, seeing what they think of your games, as well as seeing fan art (I believe you caught my drawing of Kung Fu Rabbit the other day)?

Sébastien: Yeah I noticed your drawing (nice one). We really think it is a great “plus” for everyone. We, as developers, can see what players think about the game (not always nice things, but we have to listen everyone, every complaint to increase our game, and bring more and more quality in our future projects). But I guess it is most of all a nice reward, because you are directly in contact with players, and so you can feel their joy about what we work on: when you see a lot of posts telling people “buy this game, it definitely worth it!”, that’s the best reward you could get !

Marcello: Kung Fu Rabbit is an undeniably cute game, between it’s visual and audio representation, to the characters themselves. Any chance we could see you guys working with CTools, Cazap and Bulkypix to provide a sequel? Also, is there any chance the game could come to the 3DS?

Sébastien: For the moment we are focusing on Kung Fu Rabbit. But I can tell you we are already working on the PS Vita to port the game on that console. But definitely, depending on the success of the game, we would love to work on a sequel, with our partner and developer CTools !

Marcello: Any other info you would like to add for the fans and readers?

Sébastien: We really hope a lot of players will enjoy our games! The more they are, the more new games we will release, trying always to satisfy them!

Marcello: Thanks again for your time Sébastien. I look forward to hearing from you and your team in the near future.

Interview with “Puddle” Developer Neko Entertainment; Wii U was a “Nice Experience”

20130131-070850.jpg

After a few months of waiting, Puddle finally releases for the Wii U in North America later today (you can read my review here). Neko Entertainment’s QA Manager, Sèbastien Chipot-Delys, was kind enough to provide us an interview about the game and their experience developing on the Wii U. Check it out!

Marcello: First off, thanks for taking the time to provide us an interview for your studio’s title, Puddle. The game’s premise is quite unique and works incredibly well. How did the idea for Puddle come about?

Sèbastien: You’re welcome Marcello, it is always a pleasure to help journalists interested by indie/original games! The Puddle game started at our video game school. At first it was an idea that came from an English exercise and turned out to become our first year student project. The idea was simple: make a game where you play fluids and do all sorts of chemical reactions.

Marcello: Puddle’s visual style is nothing short of stunning. How did you guys decide on the visual style for the game?

Sèbastien: We agreed to move towards a system of representation simple enough to highlight the fluid and its movement. Also, the idea of ​​using silhouettes came quite naturally – the main graph was fairly simple to implement and at the beginning of the project in 2009, few other games were using this visual. We really wanted to use what science and industry have to offer in terms of images, whether diagrams, charts, shooting in false colors etc… This is illustrated through the environments we have chosen to decline in the game (laboratory, foundry, rocket) but also how some are treated (thermical vision, x-ray, technical drawings).

Marcello: With the Wii U being new to the console market, what was it like developing for it? Did it pose any difficulties or were you guys able to grasp it fairly easily?

Sèbastien: Some things were quite simple as we are used to work on the Nintendo Wii (like for example the tools provided by Nintendo). Some of the Lotcheck have been improved and now are handled by the console itself, so it was a good surprise! Some others, were harder to handle like the Leaderboard (we cannot display more than 1000 players, but we wish we could have displayed every player from all over the world).
Basically I would say it was a nice experience, and the only problems we have to deal with, were related to the changes Nintendo made often to increase the stability of the console. As we were working on a brand new console, its main default was its youth!

Marcello: How was your partnership with Nintendo? Did they approach you guys about bringing Puddle to the Wii U or did you guys see a window of opportunity to approach them with the game? Would you look into developing for the Wii U again?

Sèbastien: It was nice, really! Nintendo asked us if we could make a developer interview on our side for example, for the eShop, and it could be added to the Puddle main page. Crucially, Neko was also able to release Puddle at a promotional price to take advantage of its early placing on the platform – and organising it couldn’t have been much easier. We wanted to celebrate with players the launch of Wii U. Nintendo was really close to us and always wanted to help us release our game with the best conditions.

Marcello: The “Pixels” level is just plain awesome. Any chance we can see more levels for those as DLC or via update?

Sèbastien: The Pixel Level is a really funny level (only few peoples know that the characters in this level are the students from the main project!). Regarding the DLC, we did not plan any new level or DLC at the moment. There are a lot of players who would like to, but nothing has been decided. If a huge amount of players all over the world were joining to ask to Neko to do it, who knows what would happen …

Marcello: Now that Puddle is finally out on the Wii U in North America, any plans for another project?

Sèbastien: Of course! Actually we are working on projects on the Nintendo Wii, PS Vita, Ouya and Steam. Plus we got a game who’s just been released in the US : Cocoto Alien Brick Breaker on Nintendo 3DS : An original brick breaker for both young fans of the genre and arcade game veterans.
I am sure we will meet again soon 😉

Marcello: Thanks again for taking the time to answer our questions. There’s no denying that it’s a great title people should be getting and couldn’t recommend it enough to Wii U owners.

Sèbastien: Thanks for asking us more info Marcello, I hope a lot of players will enjoy the game as you did!

Interested in Puddle? Sound off in the comments below and don’t forget to check out the review for Puddle!

Enjoy the interview? Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter: @GamersXTREME for all the latest in gaming news and reviews!

Puddle Review (Wii U): “Liquids 101”

Puddle Wii U Logo

Puddle is an indie, physics-based puzzle/platformer that was originally released for the PS3/360 back in January 2012. Since then, it has released for the PS Vita (read our review here), PC, Mac and now, Wii U. Developed by Neko Entertainment, is this a title to help quench the Wii U drought of titles?

Puddle has a unique premise. As the title insinuates, you’ll take control of a puddle from a specific liquid by tilting the world left and right. Broken up into eight chapters (plus an additional unlockable chapter that I’ll discuss later), each containing six stages, you’ll enter a journey in which you’ll see this puddle you control take various forms, all of which have certain properties to keep in mind. Upon starting the game, you’ll begin controlling coffee in a cup and have to escape down the drainage. From that point, the coffee then simply converts to water, in which you’ll have to navigate your way through the waterworks. Once completing the waterworks environment, there are a great variety of locations that await you and change up the gameplay during the 4-6 hour experience. Such locations are foundries, nuclear power plants, nurseries and the most memorable, the human body. There are even “boss battles” that await you in various chapters. Technically, they aren’t “bosses” but rather, more creative challenges that confine you in a single room as opposed to going from point A to point B. Throughout the game, there are also levels where you’ll control devices which the puddle is contained in, such as a snow-globe ball or a beaker to name a few. While the game’s standard levels are clever and fresh enough on their own, it’s great to see Neko Entertainment added even more diversity throughout the game’s course.

Puddle_19

While the game’s concept is to guide the puddle from point A to point B with as much liquid intact as possible, the way you’ll traverse the environment changes every couple of levels. Hazards change depending on the environment, and at times, so do the physics of the various types of liquids you’ll control. Thankfully, for a game based entirely on its physics system, Neko Entertainment put in a lot of their effort to provide an accessible, yet very intuitive experience. Depending on the angle of the platform and the amount of liquid contained within your puddle, you’ll notice the velocity the puddle moves changes naturally and realistically. Upon completing a level, you can receive an Au (gold), Ag (silver) or Cu (bronze) grade depending on how much liquid was conserved and how fast you were able to reach the exit. Complete the minimum requirements and you’ll only receive a simple checkmark to state that you just barely completed the level. Since the Wii U has no official “Trophy/Achievement” system, Neko incorporated an in-game rewards system called “Challenges”. All the challenges equal up to 1000 points and can be viewed amongst friends and random players on leaderboards.

Puddle_09

Back when I reviewed this for the PS Vita, I stated the game’s difficulty could be a bit steep. Neko Entertainment was aware of the difficulty curve for a few of the levels and went back to tailor them a bit more, making them much more manageable, while still keeping it challenging. Some of the areas now seem slightly less demanding in terms of how much liquid you’ll need to pass the level. Throughout the game’s 49 levels, you’ll be thoroughly tested with great challenge, but with enough patience, you’ll get better and better. Levels vary between 20 seconds long to almost 3 minutes, which sounds incredibly short but keep failing at certain points towards the end of lengthier levels and this extends a bit. There are no checkpoints in the stages so trial-and-error and memorization are key, giving the game an old-school feel. Thankfully, frustration never really ensues here as this version has been tweaked a good amount. The developers went an extra mile and gave those who are having a difficult time with a level to “Whine and Skip” to the next stage, but can only use up to four of these. To earn those back, you’ll have to eventually return and complete the level you skipped so that you can retrieve that “skip” again for a later stage. While I found myself using these on the Vita, I never once resorted to it on my playthrough of the Wii U version. Also, the developers have included three different controls methods that will pertain to practically any player. You can play the entire game by tilting the Wii U GamePad left and right, utilize the left analog stick, or press the zL and zR buttons to tilt the environment. No matter which preference you choose, all handle incredibly well and should you want to try other control styles, you can do so by simply accessing the pause menu in-game.

Puddle_10

While Puddle’s story may not make much sense (not that you should be looking for a deep story here), it cleverly connects why you’re accessing each environment. You won’t just go from a laboratory to the insides of a human body for no legitimate reason. It’s actually Puddle’s presentation and visuals that make it stand out. Combine partial elements of Mercury Meltdown with a Limbo-esqe style and you’ve got a very neat concept. Environments are cleverly designed, with the backdrops having some color, while the foreground consisting mostly of a silhouette. The environments are as much of a character as the puddle you control, bringing forth a pretty engaging experience. The audio provides for some great sound effects, giving the game a more immersive experience whether it be the ambient effects or those of the puddle colliding with objects. The soundtrack consists mainly of atmospheric, techno tunes that accompany the game pretty well.

So what’s different about the Wii U version? Well, you have off-tv play so you can use your GamePad to venture through the whole game. Visually, the game looks absolutely amazing on the Wii U, both on the TV and GamePad. The game is in full 1080p and runs at a butter smooth 60 fps, giving Puddle a much more fluid look (no pun intended) than when I last played through it on the PS Vita. Earlier, I mentioned that this version has “Challenges” to complete. Not only are they there just to show off to your friends which ones you’ve accomplished, but when you achieve 250 points out of the 1000, you’ll unlock a hidden chapter called “Pixels”. This level changes the game’s visuals and audio entirely to an 8-bit style. Even your health meter changes from a liquid gauge to three red hearts. While it’s only one level, it’s really sweet to see the game stylized in 8-bit.

Puddle_20

Simply put, Puddle is an incredibly imaginative and engaging game that I couldn’t recommend enough for Wii U owners. I really enjoyed it on the PS Vita over the summer but after playing it on the Wii U, it’s clear that this is the definitive version. The concept is very well imagined and it works just as well in execution. Playing with various liquids has never been so fun. The Wii U still has time before it gets flooded (again, no pun intended) with more eShop titles. However, this really works in Puddle’s favor, making it stand out amongst the small amount, yet very impressive titles available. Puddle is a refreshing experience that should not be overlooked.

Overall Score: 8.5 out of 10 = BUY IT!

Enjoy the review? Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter: @GamersXTREME for all the latest in gaming news and reviews!

A special thank you to Neko Entertainment for providing us a review copy for Puddle!

“Puddle” Coming to the Wii U; Details and Screenshots Included

Earlier this year, gamers were able to experience a unique indie title on PSN/XBLA called Puddle, developed by Neko Entertainment. A few months later, Puddle then made its way to the PS Vita and was very well received (read our review), in which I highly recommended those looking for a fresh experience to look into it. Today, Neko Entertainment has announced that they will be releasing Puddle for the Wii U and that the experience has been polished even further.

Puddle will run at full 1080p and 60fps on the Wii U, thanks to “very good performances” that the developer has gotten out of the console. They also took advantage of the TV/Gamepad feature so if you need to stop playing your game on the TV, you can continue seamlessly through the Wii U Gamepad’s screen and still retain a 60fps on there. Controls will be handled in three ways: Accelerometer, ZL-ZR trigger buttons, and Left Stick. Basically, these are the same control setups as the PS Vita edition but it’s great to see them capitalize on the “accelerometer” as that provides for a very natural and intuitive experience. Lastly, Neko Entertainment has examined which particular levels many people used the “Whine and Skip” feature on and made adjustments to ensure no frustration in simply completing those levels. They want to make the player feel that they always have the chance of completing a level but if you aim for the Gold Medals, it’s still going to be a solid and rewarding challenge.

Neko Entertainment has been hard at work in preparing their latest edition of Puddle for the launch of the Wii U and based on the enhancements, it’s certainly sounding like the most polished version yet. Puddle will be downloadable via the Wii U eShop at launch.

Are you interested in Puddle? Did you play Puddle before? If so, which version? Sound off in the comments below and check out out Puddle (PS Vita) Review if you haven’t already!

Enjoy the article? Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@GamersXTREME) for all the latest in gaming news, reviews and editorials!

Puddle Review (PS Vita)

Puddle is an indie, physics-based puzzle/platformer that was originally released for the PS3/360 back in January and has now hit Sony’s new portable handheld. Developed by Neko Entertainment, is this a title to help quench the PS Vita drought of titles this summer?

Puddle has an interesting premise. As the title insinuates, you’ll take control of a puddle from a specific liquid by tilting the world left and right. Broken up into eight chapters, each containing six stages, you’ll enter a journey in which you’ll see this puddle you control take various forms, all of which have certain properties to keep in mind. Upon starting the game, you’ll begin controlling coffee in a cup and have to escape down the drainage. From that point, the coffee then simply converts to water, in which you’ll have to navigate your way through the waterworks. Once completing the waterworks environment, there are a great variety of locations that await you and change-up the gameplay during the 4-6 hour experience. Such locations are foundries, nuclear power plants, nurseries and the most memorable, the human body. There are even “boss battles” that await you in various chapters. Technically, they aren’t “bosses” but rather, more creative challenges that confine you in a single room as opposed to going from point A to point B. Throughout the game, there are also levels where you’ll control devices which the puddle is contained in, such as a snowglobe ball or a beaker to name a few. While the game’s standard levels are clever and fresh enough on their own, it’s great to see Neko Entertainment added even more diversity throughout the game’s course.

While the concept of Puddle is to guide the puddle from point A to point B with as much liquid intact as possible, the way you’ll traverse the environment changes every couple of levels. Hazards change depending on the environment, and at times, so do the physics of the various types of puddles you’ll control. Thankfully, for a game based entirely on its physics system, Neko Entertainment put a lot of their effort in to provide an accessible, yet very intuitive experience. Depending on the angle of the platform and the amount of liquid contained within your puddle, you’ll notice the velocity the puddle moves changes naturally and realistically. Upon completing a level, you can receive a Au (gold), Ag (silver) or Cu (bronze) grade depending on how much liquid was conserved and how fast you were able to reach the exit. Complete the bare minimum requirements and you’ll only receive a simple checkmark to state that you just barely completed the level.

While the game is accessible to anyone, it is not easy by any means. Throughout the game’s 48 levels, you’ll be thoroughly tested with great challenge and will demand for a solid amount of patience. Levels vary between 20 seconds long to almost 3 minutes, which sounds incredibly short but keep failing at certain points towards to the end of lengthier levels and frustration will kick in often. There are no checkpoints in the stages so trial-and-error and memorization are key, giving the game an old-school feel. The developers went an extra mile and gave those who are having a difficult time with a level to “Whine and Skip” to the next stage, but can only use up to four of these. To earn those back, you’ll have to eventually return and complete the level you skipped so that you can retrieve that “skip” again for a later stage. It’s a handy feature as some of the levels will become beyond frustrating to complete. You’ll find yourself just wanting to advance to the next stage for the time being and return later on. Also, the developers have included four different controls methods that will pertain to practically any player. You can play the entire game by tilting the PS Vita left and right, utilize the left analog stick, press the L and R buttons or utilize the rear touch pad to tilt the environment. No matter which preference you choose, all handle incredibly well and should you want to try other control styles, you can do so by simply accessing the pause menu in-game.

While Puddle’s story may not make much sense (not that you should be looking for a deep story here), it cleverly connects why you’re accessing each environment. You won’t just go from a laboratory to the insides of a human body for no legitimate reason. It’s actually Puddle’s presentation and visuals that make it stand out. Combine partial elements of Mercury Meltdown with a Limbo-esqe style and you’ve got a very neat concept. Environments are cleverly designed, with the backdrops having some color while the foreground consisting mostly a silhouette. The environments are as much of a character as the puddle you control, bringing forth a pretty engaging experience. The audio provides for some great sound effects, giving the game a more immersive experience whether it be the ambient effects or those of the puddle colliding with objects. The soundtrack consists mainly of atmospheric, techno tunes that aren’t anything memorable but accompany the game pretty well.

Puddle ended up becoming quite the surprise indie title. While the game can become devilishly difficult at times and turn off some newcomers, the concept is very well thought-out and it works just as well in execution. With the lack of PS Vita games available on the market at this time, Puddle is a solid breath of fresh air that provides for an experience that definitely deserves attention.

Overall Score: 8.0 out of 10 = BUY IT!

 

A special thank you to Neko Entertainment for providing us a review copy for Puddle!