Aqua Forest for iPhone review

The iPhone’s touch control and accelerometer (which registers the change in orientation when you tilt the phone from horizontal to vertical) enable it to support all sorts of innovative game designs. One of the coolest games we’ve seen so far is Hudson Software’s Aqua Forest, which is part puzzle game and part free-form creative tool.

Using a unique physics engine called OctaveEngine Casual, developed by a company called Prometech, Aqua Forest mimics how water, solids and gases behave and simulates the actions of objects with different physical characteristics.

With its built-in set of painting tools, you can create everything, from a pool of water that sloshes around your iPhone screen (depending on what direction you’re holding it), to a receptacle to hold that water, or a hot substance that causes that water to heat up and turn to vapour, or a cold object that causes that vapour to condense back to water. It’s thoroughly amazing, and that alone – available in the Sandbox mode called Free – is worth the £5.

But Aqua Forest is a game, too. The developer has included five different puzzle modes: Tilting, Touch, Drawing, Warm And Cool, and All Functions. Each mode comes with 10 games. There’s no scoring or beating the clock here – these are all untimed puzzles that encourage you to figure out the physics to solve them.

Aqua Forest has a few quirks – the physics simulation, while remarkable, is positively sluggish at times. And while the developer paid careful attention to the puzzles, it seems to be at the expense of the interface.

OUR VERDICT

Still, the non-violent gameplay, gentle sound effects, new-age style music and Sandbox mode make for a compelling and unique iPhone and iPod touch experience – and a charming and delightful diversion too.

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