Waterslides 2 (universal) by FISHLABS is a light summer game that sends players on high-speed thrill rides down some seriously hardcore 3D water slides poised high above a skyscraper-filled metropolis.
The game is super simple. Select a character – a girl, a guy or a very buff penguin who I strongly recommend just for his sense of style. Then guide the rider using the accelerometer and well-timed tilts down the chutes. Collect as many golden pearls, liberally strewn across the slides, as possible without going over the edge.
The game uses an urban backdrop and great 3D graphics to make each death-defying turn look sharp and feels fast. There are 30 levels and a few power-ups including an inner-tube for gliding over as many pearls as possible, along with enemy-destroying “vortex” bombs and blasts of invulnerability.
What enemies? Players have to avoid plummeting to an untimely demise while dodging everything from snaring seaweed to paralysing jellyfish, crabs that reverse the controls to octopuses that spit ink. To remove the effects gamers need to swipe or shake the device or just ride it out.
The goal is to collect as many pearls as possible per level, as usual to get a maximum of three stars. All rides are completed; no fall is truly fatal. But, too many mishaps can force a do-over and successful completion of one level is required to unlock the next.
Pearl combos add score multipliers which come in handy for Game Center and Openfeint leaderboards and to complete the 14 achievements.
There’s not much to complain about here exactly – it’s more about expectations.
Waterslides 2 is a sequel to Waterslides Extreme by Dare Digital. The original game was a free, uninspired title – not really a game at all – an advert for the British credit card issuer Barclaycard – with a little gaming twist. With that as a starting point, there was nowhere to go but up, and so up FISHLABS went.
The new game is spruced up, looks great on iPad and is ads-free, but this is not a theme park to visit looking for deep waters or deep gameplay.
The non-penguin characters lack a bit of definition, but, detailed characters aren’t what one looks for first in a game like this. The physics are true and the rides fast and fun.
The biggest issue is substance, and let’s be frank, there isn’t all that much. Then again neither does any thrill ride at any amusement park have a substantive subtext. We ride for a few exhilarating seconds and wait in line to ride again. This game is the same, only with no lines or getting wet required, and a season pass is only $.99.
The controls are intuitive and responsive, but some sort of speed control would be nice. I’m not expecting tons of updates, however, Waterslides 2 is a casual, summertime pick-up-and-pay minute killer. But, one that has more replay value than may first appear.
†Prices accurate at time of posting but are subject to change without prior warning on the App Store.