Feed Me Oil 2 – Review

Title   Feed Me Oil 2
Developer  Holy Water Games
Publisher  Chillingo
Platform  iOS, Android (reviewed)
Genre  Strategy, Puzzle
Release Date  June 23, 2015

The physics puzzler has been around for some time now, and with each iteration comes either an entirely new approach to the genre or a slightly different take on an existing mechanic.  Feed Me Oil 2, and its predecessor, fall into the latter category where there’s a distinct similarity to Creature Feep’s 2011 release, Where’s My Water?  The premise itself is fairly simple – oil leaves point A and has to make its way to point B, which is clearly marked by a dotted line, and there has to be enough of the low-viscosity liquid for it to count.  Not enough, and you can’t move on.

While it may read like a relatively simple task, this is a puzzle game, so the chances of that are slim to none. Standing between your black gloop and the intended receptacle are all manner of obstacles, from mere walls to the ebb and flow of a self-contained ocean.  Each of the sixty levels represent a creature of some description, albeit in a very surreal way, so one landscape may appear to be a polar bear while another might resemble a lobster or a half-dead earwig.  The jury’s still out on the accuracy of that one though, it has to be said.

Helping you to guide the liquid are a series of gizmos which can be placed to direct the flow in a particular direction, or aid you by providing an increase in velocity.  These are selected from an array of icons on the left of the screen, and can be rotated once placed within the gameplay area.  Early on in the levels, you’re provided with what I suppose would be termed as a compressor, where the liquid is deposited at a certain speed but leaves the device at a vastly increased rate to allow it to travel greater distances than it would normally, or to give it more of an upward lift to access harder-to-reach areas.

As well as some of the other devices, a fan is made available to you, and this is particularly adept at preventing the oil from obeying the laws of gravity.  In such levels where the final area may crawl along a ceiling rather than being within an actual vessel or cordoned-off area, the fan will allow the liquid to remain in an airborne state, although you will invariably lose a few drops here and there.  The beauty with each level is knowing which of the available gizmos to use, where to use them, and, most importantly, which ones to ignore entirely.

It may sound bizarre, but a greater number of points is awarded if you have unused devices at the point where  you meet your required quota of oil.  So while you may be given two compressors, three windmills, and two fans with which to achieve your goal, if you find yourself about to leave yourself with only one gizmo, then you’re doing it wrong.  Each level carries with it a three-star rating, and these stars are based on completing the game, and doing it with at least two devices left unused.  Use all of them, and you’ll only pick up a single star for completing the level.  Leave one unused, and you’ll pick up two stars – one for completion and the other for the left-over gizmo, so your aim for each level is really to ensure that you achieve your goal with two left untouched.

Doing so is easier said than done, although it’s certainly not impossible.  If, at any point, you get to the stage where you can go no further or you feel that you’re heading along the correct mental pathway but there’s something eluding you, the option is there to buy a hint.  When you start out, you have enough points for ten clues, and once you use these up you have the ability to buy more using real-world cash.  They’re far from expensive, coming in at around £3 for a pack of 100 hints.  Complete solutions are also on offer, depending on whether you want to skip an entire puzzle – and see how it’s done – or if the solution merely piques your interest.

To make matters more complicated than they already are, there are bonus points on offer.  Much like the rubber ducks from Where’s My Water?, some of the levels in Feed Me Oil 2 contain a colourful easter egg, encapsulated within a bubble, and filling this will oil before making your ultimate deposit will result in a greater reward.  Unlike Where’s My Water?, however, these tend to be placed in areas which make it considerably difficult to pick up the additional points.  Thankfully, they’re not necessary and won’t prevent you from moving forward.

One thing for which the developers should be specifically commended was that, upon starting the game for the first time, it clearly recognised that the tablet’s native resolution was 2560 x 1600 and so gave me the option to download a higher-res image pack or leave it until later.  Naturally, I opted for the download so that my images weren’t being stretched to fit, and the result was by far one of the crispest and most vibrant experiences on the Tab S to date.  Aesthetically speaking, Holy Water Games knocked it out of the park.

Compared to other puzzlers out there, however, Feed Me Oil 2 can often be a walk in an oil-slicked park.  This doesn’t detract from any of the enjoyment, however, and there’s still a great deal of satisfaction from completing each of the levels, although there’s not really a compulsion to replay each scene until all three stars are achieved.  Simply moving on to the next screen, having met your objective, is enough of a reward, although it does reduce the longevity of the game somewhat.  Considering the ridiculously low price tag of only 69p, and the beautifully-drawn organic vistas, it’s money well spent.

  • Beautifully-drawn levels
  • A lot of thought has gone into the aesthetics
  • The physics works well
  • The various helper devices make for some interesting trains of thought
  • Easter eggs add another level of complexity
  • It's a little too easy, sadly

With so many puzzle games hitting the mobile shelves these days, it's refreshing to see something marginally different, even if it does follow the same protocol as 2011's Where's My Water?. The main difference between the two, as well as its own predecessor, is the extremely high quality of the aesthetics.

There's practically nothing wrong with Feed Me Oil 2, but it doesn't have enough star quality to push it into the higher echelons of review scores. It's flawless, yes, but it's fairly pedestrian as far as puzzlers go, and those who are already au fait with the genre will have no problems racing through to complete all levels. Still a great game, but could be more taxing.

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