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iPhone  header logo

Feed Me Oil

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad, Windows Phone

Born slippy

Product: Feed Me Oil | Publisher: Chillingo | Developer: Holy Water Games | Format: iPhone | Genre: Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
 
Feed Me Oil iPhone, thumbnail 1
If Feed Me Oil had arrived during BP's infamous Gulf of Mexico environmental disaster last year, it might have seemed in bad taste.

But, though play might focus on your ability to divert the flow of oil away from trouble, this is no environmental escapade. Instead, Feed Me Oil is all about playing with physics, and having a lot of fun while you do it.

Drip feed

Key to that should be a sense of experimentation, but Feed Me Oil is not as free and flowing as it might first appear.

The concept has much in common with Pangea Software's Enigmo. Using the tools at your disposal, your goal is to guide a set amount of oil spewing from a pipe into one, or several, receptacles.

Rather than making you aim for a large dish or a particularly slippery cup, Feed Me Oil actually turns the design of the level themselves into your finish post.

As such, your goal usually looks like a rather large, gaping mouth, nicely finished off with a set of eyes just to add some character.

But rather than simply letting the oil loose and hoping for the best, each level comes equipped with a number of objects - platforms, fans, revolving doors, and what can only be described as 'great big swirly things' - that you can drag in to the aid the oil's flow.

In a spin

And drag is quite literally what you do. You can employ as many or as few of the available objects into play as you like, sliding them into position and even turning them around a full 360 degrees should you choose.

Those that move of their own volition can also be manipulated, with the direction of their spin at your command.

However, the problem with the implementation of all these goodies is that there's no middle ground.

While it's actually a little bit hypnotic watching the oil swirl around once the action begins - passing from one fan to the next, or slopping up against a ledge you've placed to contain its flow - your designs either work or they don't.

In short, you either keep to the plan the developers had in mind, or you find your oil firing off in completely the wrong direction.

Oil be back?

There are clues to help you work out what to do. Tapping a question mark button in the top left places ghosts on the map showing you just where to place each object, step by step.

It's an option you may well vow to avoid, but when the difficulty of the levels begins to head skywards (and, as a result, the solutions required become painfully narrow), it's hard to resist tapping for a hint or two.

As soon as you do that, however, the fun begins to drip away, and you realise your only purpose is to follow steps rather than employ your brain.

Feed Me Oil's biggest fault is that, while it has both the tools and the character required to deliver something special, the design of the levels doesn't allow the kind of freedom needed to cash in on that potential.

What's left is a brilliant idea that hasn't quite been capitalised on.

It remains a solid entity and is in no way a disaster - oil spill or otherwise - but Feed Me Oil's legacy is a feeling that things could, and should, be even slicker next time around.
 
Feed Me Oil
Reviewer photo
Keith Andrew | 2 June 2011
Pumped full of character and charm, Feed Me Oil is a little too tight in practice, but nonetheless delivers an intriguing physics-puzzler that bodes well for a sequel or two
 
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