Aqua Forest 2 is the sequel to Hudson Entertainment’s popular puzzle game, Aqua Forest. The sequel features 50 challenging stages that task the player with guiding a water droplet past obstacles (such as lava, moss, and holes) and into the beaker. Each level is cleared as long as the tiniest amount of water is successfully navigated into the beaker, though you may replay levels in an attempt to get more water into the beaker (or to improve your time). Of course, the only benefit of getting more water in is the satisfaction of a higher score—on the main puzzle screen, each stage has your best time/water amounts displayed next to it.
Aesthetically speaking, the game is well-designed—the stages are pretty and prominently feature lush natural environments. During gameplay, somewhat-repetitive, soothing music plays in the background. The water droplets are very realistic, especially with regard to surface tension and movement. Each stage begins once you hold the iPhone flat—this is determined by matching up a flower with its shadow in the middle of the screen. After calibrating the iPhone’s accelerometer at the beginning of each stage, you manipulate the water droplet by tilting the iPhone in the appropriate direction.
There’s also an “endless” mode in which you try to keep your water droplet alive for as long as possible stage after stage after stage. A high-score list keeps track of how many stages you manage to get through—my high-score is currently 13, mainly because the endless mode gets boring very quickly.
Beautiful But Boring: Aqua Forest 2 is gorgeous but the gameplay is about as fun as watching rain fall.
Overall, Aqua Forest 2 is pretty looking, but that’s about it. I powered through the 50 puzzle stages in under an hour—and trust me, I’m no accelerometer champion. A couple of the stages are challenging, but still didn’t really leave me with the desire to go back and try to get a larger percentage of water in the beaker. Most of the stages, however, are incredibly quick and easy—some require all the iPhone-tilting skill of a 3-year-old. Disappointingly, there is no multiplayer option and the “free mode” of the original Aqua Forest (where you can just play around with water droplets) is sadly absent. It doesn’t quite seem worth the $5.99.
Aqua Forest 2 is really nothing more than a watery marble-labyrinth game, except without the intricate mazes.
[Sarah Jacobsson is a contributor to Macworld and PC World.]