More than a sprinkling of fun
An AppGamer Kids review.
Mediocre Games physics puzzler, Sprinkle, is a physics puzzler that involves a lot of water, some fire and quite a bit of frantic action, so how do you translate this in to a game fit for smaller fingers?
Well, it seems that taking away the timer and the water limit is the first step. While it may sound drastic to some, removing these constraints really opens the game up and lets it become more of a playground. There are still goals to complete in order to finish each level, but it's a far more sedate game than its older brother.
At first glance there's not much to tell Sprinkle Jr apart from Sprinkle. The bright colours and excellent water effects are still intact, the fires are there and so are the cute little aliens. But right slap bang in the middle of all this is a new feature. Movable figures and objects are placed in key locations and they are often the star attraction of the level.
A space suit with moveable joints holds up water until it is moved on one level, a cup cake needs the frosting blown off in another. It's not immediately obvious what needs to be done at the start. The player can quite easily mess around on the screen until they find this out for themselves, with no time limit anything goes. Quite often it tends to be these centerpieces that children often find most entertaining and the fire hose becomes a secondary quest.
This changes Sprinkle from a game about fighting fires before they take over the village to investigating what each object does and the effect it has on the water once it sprays from the fire hose. It also means there is plenty of replay value in each level as it becomes more of a plaything than a level with a set objective and then moving on to the next. In fact, some of the levels require players to move or change objects to complete them and ignore the fire aspect altogehter.
Our first playtester, a 5 year old, loved the objects and managed to complete the levels by accident as much as by actually trying.
"The best things are the fun things that move and I can pick them up with my fingers and shake them about." she said.
The second playtester, a 7 year old, was more interested in completing the quests and even though there was little indication what had to be done, she quickly worked out the object of each level.
"It is not too difficult for me, some levels were a bit too easy, but I liked playing them anyway because there were fun things to do. I would go back to playing the game again because I liked the colours and things to do."
Both went back to older levels in order to replay them and find out whether changing the object in the middle would have any futher affect on the game. A few of the levels were frustrating for both players, particularly the rope level which requires quite a bit of dexterity to complete, but being able to skip levels and play any of the other 22 really helped to keep their frustration to a minimum.
Sprinkle Jr could have been a disaster, but removing the hazzards has actually made it a very enjoyable game that young players can really get a lot out of. With a fantastic physics engine, together with the great standard of graphics and audio, Mediocre has managed to create a bright and colourful playground for children.
- Sound: 9
- Graphics: 9
- Gameplay: 9
- Longevity: 8
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