+Great looking effects
+Realistic water physics
+Smooth learning curve
-Sound effects can wear on your nerves
-Fire behavior isn't consistent
Final score: 8 / 10
Tegra 2-powered Android tablet or mobile phone
iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod Touch 4th generation, iPad 1 or 2
Mobile games are becoming more and more popular these days, with global phenomenons like Angry Birds managing to rake in more money and reach more people than many blockbuster, triple-A console or PC games.
Sprinkle is the newest title that’s been sweeping the iOS and Android app stores these days, with its developer, Mediocre, trying to deliver a special type of simulation on devices like the iPad, iPhone, or the various Android phones and tablets: accurate water physics.
Instead of flinging birds at pigs or feeding candy to little critters, in Sprinkle you need to save the homes and lives of the alien inhabitants of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. After humans mistakenly crash into the planet’s rings, massive fire balls are hurled towards Titan, threatening the homes of the cute little aliens.
It’s now your job to protect them in each level with the help of a fire truck, whose hose you can adjust in terms of height and angle, and a limited amount of water, which needs to be used to put out the fires. During gameplay, you need to make sure all the fires are extinguished while as much water as possible remains in your tank. Depending on how much H2O you have left, you’re awarded up to five drops of water, which can be used to skip over levels that are giving you a hard time.
You won’t be forced to this that often, however, as Sprinkle emphasizes speed over tricky puzzle sequences. Most levels are pretty straightforward at the beginning, but Sprinkle does ramp up difficulty with varied environments and the introduction of extra props like ice cubes, which change the flow of water, water mills, and switches which disable any extra walls that prevent your water from reaching fires.
Each level starts with a few fires in different areas, and you quickly need to prioritize which you take out first. If the fires reach the huts of the tiny aliens, you need to hurry up, as a burned shack means game over. This is where things get a bit trickier, as even if Sprinkle’s water is extremely well done, moving and behaving in a realistic manner, its fire is a fickle beast, to say the least. You’ll sometimes need to throw a lot of water at just a few tiny sparks to get them extinguished, while massive blazes can sometimes be put out with only a few squirts.
After a few trial and error attempts, however, you’ll find that almost all of Sprinkle’s 46 levels can be passed, depending on how quick you are with handling the fire hose’s height and angle.
In terms of visuals, the game is quite attractive, bringing a cartoonish design with loveable tiny aliens, making you forgive them for building huts so vulnerable to flaming rocks. We tested Sprinkle on a Asus Eee Pad Transformer tablet, powered by Nvidia’s Tegra 2 hardware. Mediocre worked closely with Nvidia to make the water physics look even more impressive and it clearly shows, overtaking the iPad version in terms of quality.
Sound-wise, the game is also pretty good, but after playing multiple levels one after another, the sound effects tend to wear on your nerves, especially when windmills are present, as these things give out high squeaks that are enough to make you turn off sound altogether.
Overall, Sprinkle is a great little game that offers a welcome change of pace from other mobile titles these days. Its water physics are impressive and, while the behavior of the fire can be troublesome at times, it’s still a pretty good experience.
Sprinkle is available on the iOS App Store for $0.99 and on the Android Market, only on Tegra 2 devices, for $1.50.