Disney Mobile is launching its Where’s My Water? 2 game on multiple mobile platforms today as it tries to recapture the magic of its original mobile character, Swampy.
The new free-to-play game is a massive effort, and it is fitting since the first Where’s My Water? title was a No. 1 hit in more than 100 countries and was downloaded more than 250 million times when it launched in 2011. That makes it a megahit in the new world of digital games.
The simple mechanic was addictive; The player swiped the screen to create a path through the dirt so that water can flow to Swampy’s shower. It was a complex puzzle game that taught a little bit of physics.
“We had the same challenge that every creator has,” said Tim FitzRandolph, the vice president of creative for the Disney Mobile studio in Glendale, Calif. “We wanted new stuff that enhances the game for fans, but we also needed to make it fun for those who are picking it up for the first time.”
The new title has more than 100 levels and challenges to solve. It has three characters: Swampy, Allie, and Cranky. FitzRandolph was the lead designer and programmer on the first version, which was pretty unique in its use of fluids and fingers.
It took a while to do this sequel because Disney Mobile also launched its Where’s My Perry? and Where’s My Mickey? variants, and the original game was continually updated so that it has more than 300 levels, including some with the Allie and Cranky characters. Allie is more musical as a character while Cranky is just like his name suggests.
The team made a lot of prototypes and came up with new ways to play.
“We had to figure out things that were appealing and find ways to augment it,” FitzRandolph said.
The new title has three locations: a sewer, a soap factory, and the beach. There are also multiscreen puzzles now where you can endlessly run water down the screen. In each level, you try to make the water flow in the right direction and bring it to six ducks along the way as a bonus challenge. While that sounds simple, the puzzles can be very tough, FitzRandolph said.
“You don’t have to know a bunch of stuff from the previous game,” he said.
The title has power-ups that you can either earn or buy, such as a vacuum, which makes it easier to collect ducks. There are also “droppers” and “absorbers” that help you get ducks more easily. There are challenge modes that encourage you to replay levels and quick-timed “Duck Rush” levels, too.
For instance, in a challenge mode, if you are not allowed to have the water hit any ducks, as in the picture at right, you have to figure out a different way to beat the level. In Duck Rush, you have to make a cut with your finger, and that activates the camera, which moves down the screen. You have to keep making cuts and stay ahead of the edge of the screen. That makes you think on your feet more.
The title has a bit more of the story, as told through some short animations. The game has hints about where to make the first one or two cuts if you need it.
The game has Facebook integration so you can see how far along your friends are in the game, and you can send them gifts. The title is available on the Apple iTunes App Store and Windows Phone Store, and it will be coming to Google Play and the Amazon App Store soon. It will run on Microsoft Surface and touch laptops, too.