Where’s My Water has grown into an App Store phenomena with it’s great water physics, ornate level design, personable main character, and touch-centric gameplay. The original game has been updated numerous times, and has even spawned two spin-offs, but now Disney has gone back to the original to make a whole new sequel. Where’s My Water 2 puts Swampy back in action, and it really takes all that was learned in the original game, and infused into a whole new package. Through the updates to the first installment Cranky, Allie, and Mystery Duck level packs were added, and so were brand new challenges. The problem is that all of the new content came to the game months after release, and were hidden behind IAP and all of Swampy level packs before them.
Where’s My Water 2 is a complete redesign in the level set-up so now there’s a world map that alternates levels between Swampy, Cranky, and Allie. The game launches with three worlds, and now you can experience the level twists right in line with the world map, rather than way into the game. The set-up is similar to Plants vs. Zombies 2 which also featured three worlds with the challenges interspersed through the levels, rather than saved until the end of the main storyline. All told, there are over 100 levels and challenges in Where’s My Water 2, with the challenges presenting the same level, but with unique objectives. For instance, you will need to avoid ducks, drill through rock while avoiding switches, play the level upside down, or collect musical notes in order instead of ducks. There’s also a brand new level type known as Duck Rush, which presents a vertically scrolling level where the screen moves automatically, and you need to keep the water on screen through a lengthy descent with obstacles popping up requiring quick reactions.
There’s a lot new in Where’s My Water 2, and yet the familiar style remains as you dig dirt with your finger to guide water through an ornate layout to get it to Swampy. There are the twists of getting rising steam to Allie, or poisonous water to Cranky, which is again familiar if you played those level packs of the original. Your constant goal is to tri-duck the levels by filling up the three rubber duckies scattered about, and that’s where the main puzzles lie. There are of course brand new layouts, but with the over 500 levels in the original game along with the over 200 levels in the Perry & Mickey spin-offs the style is quite redundant. There’s not the greatest challenge due to the simple fact that there just isn’t much new that can be done with the Where’s My set-up. With that said, the entire experience is still plenty engaging with the challenge twists and Duck Rush levels combined with the same great touch controls, water physics engine, and personality infused alligator characters.
One of the most notable aspects of Where’s My Water 2 is that it’s free to play, and the question is how restrictive the in-app purchase system is. Well, the game offers three new power-ups which you can slowly earn or purchase, and they’re pretty optional as they just help you tri-duck a level. There’s also a brand new hint system, which you can also earn or buy, and it’s integrated quite well to give you one hint at a time, with the entire solution available, but that one hint may be all you need. The power-ups and hints are optional, but there’s one mechanic that bogs down the entire experience, and that’s an energy meter. Each level requires energy to play, and when the meter is depleted, you either have to wait for it to refill, pay money, or bug your Facebook friends just like Candy Crush. It’s simply ridiculous that you can’t play a game for as much or little as you would like, and instead the developers tell you when you can play. That shouldn’t be in any game, and to make matters worse it depletes relatively quickly no matter what you do in the game. One of the worst parts is that even replaying a level to aim to tri-duck actually costs energy, and you can deplete that energy meter just replaying a level of two. Replaying to tri-duck is one of the key components of Where’s My Water, and now you feel hesitant to replay any level with the energy meter in mind.
Disney promised an all new Where’s My Water experience, and that’s exactly what they provided, though I don’t think they wanted it to be a negative. The entire game is hampered by the energy meter to the point that you actually have to think about the energy, and the few levels you can play before it depletes. You try to tri-duck levels the first time out, skip the challenges for later, and really just change the whole way you play the game. The actual gameplay is better than the original with the new challenges, Duck Rush levels, and infusion of Allie & Cranky levels right in line, but a lot of the enjoyment is stripped out due to the energy meter. You can’t just play at your own pace, going through the challenge levels a few times to get all the ducks across three or four challenges before moving on. It’s amazing how one thing can hurt something so good, but the experience is still one to pick up and play for free.
Where’s My Water 2 (Free, Universal) is a good sequel adding some nice twists to keep things fresh on such a familiar model. It’s definitely a good game, but the restrictive in-app purchase system ruins the entire flow. Where’s My Water 2 is worth picking up, but it could be so much better as a paid app with no energy meter.