Where’s My Perry by Disney is a refreshing physics puzzler that is, well, pretty puzzling. Games like this always hearken me back to days spent in computer class playing the Incredible Machine. There’s something about setting up a Rube Goldberg-style device and watching it solve a puzzle. But, this game is decidedly different. The general object is to transport the water (or steam, or ice) to a metal opening in order to release the protagonist, Perry, further down his transport tube. The general gameplay deals with dragging pathways in sand piles to allow the water to flow downward. In general, the game achieves a nice, interactive feel, different from most set-and-release physics games. But don’t be fooled; there’s a definite need for some serious planning.
Where’s My Perry begins with some simple puzzles. You’re introduced to Perry, who needs to drop down a series of tubes in order to reach an important business meeting at the bottom—presumably an homage to the plot of this Disney Channel favorite. There’s typically a fair amount of water pooled somewhere on the screen, suspended by large sections of sand. Dragging your finger through the sand allows the water to trickle down, following a path that you control. The general objective is to get the water to fill up Perry’s water meter, allowing him to continue. This is how most levels operate, and it’s a satisfying control system. However, as things carry on, puzzles obviously get (much) more complicated. The game begins to introduce various laser beams that serve to either cool down or heat up the water. Sometimes, you need to send steam into the metal tube to fill Perry’s meter, other times you need to freeze the water first, then melt it back down (Hint: look at the whole level and plan ahead). But there’s also an added task: players can try to collect up to 3 gnomes in each level by soaking them in a small amount of water. This isn’t mandatory to move the game forward, but it serves to keep the game interesting for those diehard players.
What I was alluding to earlier, about an interactive experience, is where Perry really shines. While a degree of foresight is necessary to complete these puzzles, you have some options as the water starts to trickle down. I think the most fun I had during this game was when I had to “call an audible” and scramble to create a new path for the water. I also enjoy this sort of game because it requires me to flex my problem-solving muscles—something that’s inherently missing in a lot of iPhone games. As for the negatives, the game obviously gets a little repetitive. I mean, how many times can you send water through a maze of obstacles and sand before you get sick of it? Additionally, as you progress, the puzzles do get extraordinarily complicated. It makes it tough to passively play this game, which can be an issue for someone like me who tends to focus their mobile gaming on the morning subway commute. Beyond that, I found the multi-tasking between other apps to be a huge drawback. If you receive a text mid-puzzle, rather than pause, the game just shuts down and restarts upon relaunch (losing all previous level progress). It’s a minor, logistical concern, but annoying nonetheless.
All in all, this game is fairly effective, and that’s saying a lot from someone who doesn’t play a whole lot of puzzle games. It acts as a nice crossover for action-oriented gamers who want a more active experience. But, for those who are fans of physics puzzles (i.e. the original Where’s My Water), this game will be equally as satisfying. And, while I never got into Where’s My Water, I can see where this game fits in. Download it and try it yourself, but be prepared to use your brain.