The gameplay remains fresh throught the game.
Chronic lack of instructions on what to do.
Larger amount of pre-set levels would have been nice.
Bloop: Reloaded Review
Is there anything more beautiful in games than fluid physics? Well, okay, let’s ignore the fact that explosions exist for a while. Not many titles spring to mind when talking about the interaction with fluids they allow, except for a couple of side-scrolling endeavours such as Vessel (it’s a nice game, google it up). Bloop Reloaded works in a similar fashion – by rendering the game world in two dimensions and presenting you with a puzzle you’ll have to solve by spewing fluids about. Ignore any and all connotations you might have with that sentence and let’s press on.
The premise is simple. You’ve got to mix a potion from two (or more) basic fluids by leading them from their dedicated vial to the one where they mix up. It begins in a simple enough manner, with the player having to draw a simple line connecting said flasks and hitting space for the water, I guess, to start flowing. The main gameplay mechanic is the player’s ability to draw platforms on which fluids will flow, and the whole game revolves around this system. You also have the ability to use some sort of telekinesis to attract fluids towards your cursor for a little while. While seemingly limited on paper, these two mechanics are all you need to unleash your creativity in this game, because you’ll definitely be needing it. One thing that might bother some players is that there’s little to no hinting at what you’re supposed to be doing at each level. On the other hand, this also forces the player to think outside the box and experiment with, you’ve guessed it, physics! All in all, there are only 27 levels available in the game, but the inclusion of a simple yet robust level editor alleviates this somewhat. There’s also the fact that you can complete each level in a multitude of ways, so you can get more gameplay hours out of Bloop: Reloaded even if you don’t feel like fiddling with the level editor. What I really appreciate about Bloop: Reloaded is how organically and easily it introduces new twists and turns to the basic gameplay formula. Every couple of levels you’ll have to contend with a new modifier, whether it is a change in gravity, the inclusion of an off teleporter or something similar – there will often be new elements for you to toy around with. This is what keeps the game fresh the whole time. The difficulty, too, will ramp up quickly, making you use all of your accrued knowledge of the game’s mechanics to overcome the increasingly difficult puzzles.
Bloop: Reloaded is also a significant visual upgrade compared to its unreloaded predecessor. Levels will come with a myriad of different backgrounds and visual fluff for you to feast your eyes on, and the vivid colours will often change from one level to another, quite wildly. Fluids are easily recognizable (once you read about the more complicated elements, that is) and each acts differently, according to its properties. Their high-contrast colour will also look lovely on the predominantly black level nodes. The music is quite pleasing too, but won’t ever be easily recognizable. It does serve the game well in setting the alchemistic (?) mood though.
Bloop: Reloaded does have its flaws though, as all games do. Firstly, and what perhaps bugs me the most is that there are several instances of the game using “its” and “it’s” wrong. This kills me. Please don’t do that, devs, because a reviewer fairy dies every time you use this in a wrong way. As for the game itself, I felt as if some mechanics simply weren’t properly explained during the course of my gameplay sessions. As you run into those teleporters, for example, you’ll see little indication on what they are and how do they work. There’s the thing with the telekinesis power, too. It’s limited by the energy represented by three circular lines that appear around the mouse pointer, but the way you replenish them is barely explained at all. You just get a strange yellowish orb flying around the screen saying “click me”. Since the whole UI is so unobtrusive and minimalistic, it’s awfully easy to miss things such as this. Sure, trial and error is fine in some cases, but a little bit more explanation could improve the player experience here. Also important is the fact that the lines you draw sometimes won’t be the lines you wanted to draw. There’s a bit of an offset issue here, but I don’t think that’ll be too much of a problem for an average gamer.
All in all, Bloop: Reloaded is a great puzzle game. An easy recommendation, if you will, especially if you’re into this kind of games. The ability to create your own levels and share them with your friends is an added bonus and serves as a great way to increase replayability. Its complexity should keep you busy for a while, even though the twenty-seven levels it offers seem a tiny bit to short once you’re done with them. The game does recreate the real-life physics of all kinds of fluids nicely, thus making experimentation a welcome feat. If you need a good puzzler, go for it.
Bloop: Reloaded Review
6th February 2015