A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Where's My Water? 2 is the follow-up to the successful casual puzzle game, tasking players to clear obstructions from a sewer system to delivery water or steam to Swampy the Alligator and his family. Like the original, the characters are charming and the game is played out in a cartoon style. This time, though, there are in-app purchase possibilities, which kids might ask for when they get stuck or they run out of game time. (The app limits time via an 'energy meter,' which recharges when you stop playing or collect a certain number of ducks.) And after 30 levels, players are forced to either pay to advance or get help from friends on Facebook. Players can share high scores via the Game Center social network, but participation is optional.
What's it about?
As in the game's predecessor, players must clear the way for water or steam to flow in this physics-based puzzler. They must also collect ducks and other items to get bonuses and advance to other levels. By swiping their finger across the screen and through dirt, kids carve a path for the water to flow (or, if it's in steam form, to float). Extra challenges open up after a level is completed, with different tasks and goals on the same playfield. "Duck Rush" levels have the player digging water down the screen as it scrolls down over several screens. Losing track of the water results in a loss. The game consists of three characters -- Swampy, Allie, and Cranky -- though each has little to do with the actual gameplay. Players only have a limited time to play consecutively, though. An 'energy meter' drains as levels are attempted -- and when it runs dry, the game is not playable until it recharges. This can be done through waiting or paying a fee in real world money to instantly recharge it.
Is it any good?
While the mechanics of Where's My Water? 2 are wonderful and the gameplay is as much fun as the first one, there are a couple features that overshadow those triumphs. Primary among these is the energy meter. While the game handles most in-app purchases well -- not forcing them on players and making it possible to play through the first 30 levels without buying anything -- limiting the playtime of a game that requires trial and error is a mistake. Casual players, who only play a level or two at a time, won't notice it, but fans of the game, who play for long periods, will feel almost as they're being punished. Worst yet, there is no way to disable the timer, even by paying real money.
If players can get over the timer frustration, they'll like what they see. The game sticks to the formula that has worked, adding in new elements and characters that keep it fresh. And adding in a social element with friends on Facebook is a smart move for adults, but it presents a hurdle for kids. After 30 levels, players are forced to either pay to advance further or must get help from friends on Facebook, where young children don't have an account. So parents, be prepared to pay for kids under age 13. For players looking to play casually, it's a can't miss. For avid players, be forwarned about the frustrations of being forced to walk away and wait for your meter to recharge -- or plan to pay ($.99) to continue from time to time.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
- Subjects: Science: gravity, physics
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, problem solving, solving puzzles
Self-Direction: achieving goals, time management, working efficiently
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free
- Release date: September 12, 2013
- Category: Puzzle Games
- Size: 41.70 MB
- Publisher: Disney
- Version: 1.0.0
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 5.1 or later