- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 4, 2014

Owners of Apple’s magical tablet control the flow of black gold and help clean up environments in Feed Me Oil 2 (Chillingo and Holy Water Games, reviewed with iPad 2, Rated 4+, $2.99).

The sequel to one of the more critically acclaimed mobile games of 2011 continues to demand a player feed fantastical machines with a specific amount of oil to collect coveted stars.

The fluid manipulator visits four islands, this time loaded with 15 viscous conundrums in each. He drags a set amount of tools for each puzzle — such as bars, fans and windmills — onto the iPad’s touch screen, setting and twisting them into the perfect place.

Now, break out your mathematics and physics beanies kiddies as a player then triggers a mini-geyser of unwieldy crude. The stream needs accurate manipulation with those tools at the right angles to push and contain the liquid into a machine’s mouth or reserve.

Don’t worry about failure as with a tap of the finger, the geyser stops and items can be moved around to try again with no penalty.

Braniacs who can deliver the oil to the right spot with the least amount of tools get a maximum of three stars for the effort. Collect enough stars to unlock a new world.

This time out, a player also learns that oil and water don’t mix, offering a new complexity to the puzzling possibilities. Developers even toss in ice and wind to complicate matters in certain levels.

Suffice to report, when dealing with an unpredictable liquid, patience has its own rewards. Even if your truncated Rube Goldberg setup is not tweaked perfectly, the oil might still move to the desired spot if you wait it out.

However, the puzzles are often real head scratchers (particularly when needing to trigger buttons using the oil to open areas) but gloriously rewarding to those who can figure out the perfect fluid interaction.

A player can get a trio of assists from a helping hand (literally a small metal hand) that will position an item. Anyone out of hand hints and stuck can make a dreaded in-app purchase.

However, I think using one’s grey matter here is far more satisfying than spending extra money.

Although the art will still remind gamers of World of Goo, it is wonderfully upgraded with storybook backdrops, golden piping and detailed creatures. I considered it more of a Steampunk mashup, as if Terry Gilliam was directing the animation.

Specifically, marvel at the beauty of a polar bear with electronic goggles, a curled-up red fox sporting metal ears, a purple cat laying on its belly wearing armor (while waiting for his oily snack) or a steely Egyptian Sphinx with a beard that opens like a box top to unlock its empty reserve.

And, for the too-cute moments, always watch the eyes of the mechanical creatures as they follow your finger around the touch screen and occasionally blink.

Overall, Chillingo delivers a fairly slick experience with Feed Me Oil 2. It’s perfect for casual gamers of all ages ready to expend some brain power.



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