10
Oct
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Where's My Water? was a surprise hit when it came out on mobile devices a few years ago, and now there is a sequel with a lot of the same great gameplay mechanics and a ton more content. Where's My Water 2 was released on iOS a few weeks ago, but it has finally washed up in Google Play. It's still a fun physics puzzler, but Disney is going with a free-to-play model and in-app purchases.

There are over 100 levels in the initial release of Where's My Water? 2, most of which pretty much conform to the established WMW trope. The water is at the top, then you carve a path for it to fill the bathtub and pick up some duckies along the way. However, this game lets you revisit stages with new rules. Maybe you'll have to play it upside down, or you won't be allowed to touch any ducks, for example. There are also some time-sensitive puzzles that test your understanding of the game's physics.

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The biggest change, though, is the move to in-app purchases. There are a number of special powers and hints that can be used in Where's My Water? 2, but they are limited. Paying a few bucks gets you more, but they start at $2.99. To be clear, you can play the game just fine without the power ups. However, I have to question the wisdom of adding so many IAPs to a game that strongly appeals to kids.

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • Alex Winton

    Perhaps it's time that mobile games were rated, just as other games are. Then stick an automatic 15 rating on any game with IAP.

    • Ádám Zovits

      Depends on the type of the IAP. It's not the same if
      - the game is pay-to-win or
      - there are just minor cosmetical upgrades or
      - IAPs can be used to just save time and/or frustration
      - or the basic game is free as a demo and you can pay to play further.

      • Alex Winton

        I have no issue with the actual existence of IAPs. Frankly, they can be whatever they want them to be.

        The issue is making a game for kids explicitly designed to make them abuse the fact their parents have given them their digital wallet to play with. IAPs should be banned in games for kids full stop.

        • Ádám Zovits

          Oh, sorry, I thought you meant a rating from 0 to 100 and giving a 15 on that scale. If you speak of an age recommendation system, that is of course acceptable.

          • Neal Horowitz

            It's not that I disagree with the sentiment, but my five year-old son loves this game (as well as the previous ones, especially the perry/mickey spinoffs). There's absolutely no reason I can't just hand him my tablet and let him play as long as I don't tell him my password. They don't push the IAPs obnoxiously like some games (where he sometimes gets confused why things seem to be not working). The only problematic IAP is "battery power" or whatever; this is a limit on the number of levels you can play in a fixed time without paying. I look at it as a good lesson though--you can only play so much then you have to take a break.

            Anyway, many games, even those with offensive IAPs, are perfectly appropriate for kids as long as you don't hand them your credit card/Wallet account and say "go bonkers."

    • TheOtherJames

      Considering some IAP schemes are effectively gambling, it shouldn't be too hard to get them hit with an 18 and banned in lots of countries and states.

      • Sir_Brizz

        This is my problem. Actually, it's worse than gambling because it targets young people that don't have fully developed neural activity and asks them to spend money in a way that they can't reasonably understand the consequences of.

        Here's a good article about how screwed up it is. (Although there is no moral implication really discussed in the article)

        http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/RaminShokrizade/20130626/194933/

  • abdoi94

    God bless Freedom ;)

    • lipssealedffs

      Or not if people like you keep advertising.

  • jonathan3579

    Sigh... I'd like to know who the hell came up with the IAP model so I could go back in time and stop this madness. I'll happily pay a premium price for a full game.

    • Matthew Fry

      Unfortunately, you're the minority and not really their target anyway. IAPs are designed to target the same folks who are drawn to the lottery. Basically, people who cannot grasp long term rewards.

      I tried to love Puzzle Quest:Dark Reign but it was so easy to see that the essential gameplay had been modified to make room for IAPs. Time-based healing between battles, random rewards that quickly become grindfests. It has rapid character progression that quickly becomes painfully slow. I realized (as I did with most F2P games) that I was wasting my time and I wished the game had been designed differently.

      There's a difference between pay-to-win and possible, and there's a difference between possible and worthwhile. It's certainly possible to play and win but the fact that free to play models are designed around "fun pain" should make everyone wary.

      On the other hand, some F2P games are great and have few grinding/grifting moments such as PvZ2. PvZ2 presents me with a new problem. I want them to be compensated for their work but I don't want to cheat.

  • Sir_Brizz

    Ugh. F2P is a scourge. I get pretty sick of having fun games that are limited because they are pushing stupid IAP around every corner. Tiny Town is a good example. I wish they would release the Steam version for Android and charge a few dollars. I would pay to have the IAP pushes removed and the gameplay possibilities expanded.

  • Chris

    If this is like the IOS version, then you also have to beg facebook friends to get keys to get you past a given point. Don't want to do that, then pay up. No way around it.

  • Carl Williams

    I did an article for my mobile gaming site (not linking because it is not allowed) about the history of In App Purchases. Basically, I pointed the finger at Double Dragon III: The Rosetta Stone in the arcades.

    For anyone that does not know what DD3 was like, it required you to physically put another quarter (or more) in the machine to buy health, weapons and other items to help you in the game.

    That is the earliest instance of In App Purchases that I could find. I negated Nintendo Playchoice 10 units because you were simply buying more time for the whole game, not individual weapons or power-ups.

  • Arthur Dent

    This game is a complete and utter piece of shit due to the way IAP and/or social whoring is required to play. DO NOT INSTALL. DO NOT SUPPORT THIS CRAP.

    Jesus, Disney, why can't you just put out a paid version of the game so people don't have to deal with this stupidity? Complete idiots.

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