Feed Me Oil 2, from HolyWater Games, is the latest in a line of liquid physics games like Where's My Water? and Sprinkle: Water Splashing Fire Fighting Fun. What sets Feed Me Oil 2 and its predecessor apart, as you might guess, is that HolyWater Games have replaced the life giving liquid found in those other games with America's favorite fluid: oil.
The goal in every level is to get a splash of oil to travel from point A to point B, using various objects like spouts, fans and barriers. The physics of oil add a lot of interesting room for gameplay changes that wouldn't work with water, and the game does a good job capitalizing on that. Oil, as you might remember from grade school science, doesn't mix with water and many other substances, and that idea allows the game to play with puzzles that incorporate water as well. Trying to find ways to get the oil to move under water instead of floating right to the top makes for some creative puzzles.
In addition to oil, the game also makes use of a few different placeable pieces like a fan and a redirection spout. The spout is fun, but the fan is part of a bigger aesthetic problem with the game.
The game is about oil and often you're feeding oil to a tanker or machine of some sort. For some reason, though, as good a job as the developer did creating some interesting puzzles that use the oil mechanics, the art feels too random. At times you'll be feeding oil to a fox or an eagle or a pharaoh-thing. The art feels random, less in a quirky way, and more like they weren't quite sure what to put there but felt like they couldn't just have more industrial sequences. The visual themes are too loose, and there's little consistency.
And unfortunately, despite Feed Me Oil 2 costing $2.99 in the App Store, the game also makes use of in-app purchases. They go toward helper items—magic hands that will place the oil-directing items for you and lock them in place—as well as solution items that just show you how to solve the puzzle. You get a few of these to start, but you can't earn more without spending money.
Microtransactions like these in a puzzle game can be frustrating. When you've used up all your free hints and you run into another brick wall, you start to second guess the developer, wondering at every turn if the puzzle was designed to hold you up rather than be clever and interesting. Additional levels or special pieces would be a less frustrating, more innocuous use of microtransactions. If the game hit the same addictive vein that Angry Birds manages, it wouldn't be as big of a problem, but it just isn't quite there.
Feed Me Oil 2 is fun, but go in knowing that if you're the type that gets frustrated with puzzle games, you might end up quitting out or spending money when you find out you're a few stars short of the next batch of levels.
- Feed Me Oil 2
- Developer: HolyWater Games
- Publisher: Chillingo
- Platform: iOS 5, iPad 2 or Later
- In-App Purchases: Yes
- Price: $2.99