The key elements of well-liked physics puzzle games such as Ramps and Angry Birds really aren’t all that difficult to decipher. Let’s see, both boast an intuitive concept, just the right balance of trickiness and ‘one more go’ playability, a pleasing art style and/or chirpy characters. Sadly, The Flood: Salvation (out now, $0.99) possesses none of the above. And in their place we get needlessly convoluted game mechanics, clunky drag-and-drop controls and a rag doll with all the charisma of a bloated corpse.
Things start off well enough, but go down the swanny fast. On the plus side, The Flood: Salvation’s convincingly realistic physics and water effects impress. As do graphics, that while a tad rudimentary, get the job done. Like I say though, a series of design flaws and niggling little frustrations manage to put a serious damper on the overall experience.
The aim of the game is to rescue aforementioned rag doll, Joe, from a series of life threatening predicaments. At the outset of each level our hapless hero finds himself tossed in the path of an impending flood, more often than not pinned under a piece of scenery or (inexplicably) surrounded by bombs and lasers. So what you’ve got to do is ensure that when the deluge hits, he’ll be able to float safely to the surface by strategically positioning a range of objects around environments.
Easier said than done, believe me. And not just thanks to intermittently unresponsive drag-and-drop controls, but also the bamboozling number of variables you must take into account whenever placing an item on the map. Be warned, an object’s size, weight and buoyancy all impact on how it behaves when submerged in flood waters.
As you work your way through the 40 levels on offer, puzzles get ever more intricate and you’re likely to a tough time remembering which of the game’s multitude of items do what. Now, there is a help button, however you are restricted to one press per level and hints are often incomplete or too vague to be of much use. This, coupled with the fact you can’t skip stages you get stuck on, means The Flood: Salvation soon descends into a frustrating, patience sapping slog recommendable only to the most hardcore of puzzle fanatics.
iFanzine Verdict: Inundated as the App Store already is with 99 cent physics-based puzzlers, only the cream of the crop truly deserve to rise to the top. The Flood Salvation, a thoroughly average effort, doesn’t.