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Where’s My Water? is Disney’s best-known original mobile smash, with a couple of successful spin-offs following since, so naturally a proper sequel couldn’t be far behind. Where’s My Water? 2 might seem like a sure thing, as such, but it sadly squanders the well-earned respect of its predecessor. Its few new ideas simply aren’t enough to justify a fumbling attempt at injecting free-to-play hooks.
Rather than deliver separate quests for cartoonish alligators Swampy, Cranky, and Allie, Where's My Water? 2 mixes all of the distinct puzzle types into a single campaign. This not only grants the stages a great deal more variety, but also shows off Disney’s impressive ability to make one environment work for multiple types of goals. A stage might have you get water to Swampy, and then, with very little or even no changes, you’ll have to rethink the same stage layout to guide acid to Cranky.
A new set of power-ups makes it a little easier to collect the ducks, but they aren’t so overpowered as to undermine the puzzles. The sequel also introduces a fast-paced Duck Rush mode, which has you dig through an automatically scrolling stage. This can be occasionally frustrating, since it’s difficult to see what's coming, plus the stages have you pick a direction before knowing it will lead. That often makes it come down to trial and error rather than fast reflexes, forcing a few retries to get a stage right.
Retries are at a premium, though, thanks to Where's My Water? 2's most unwelcome change: A freemium energy mechanic. You’ll have 10 or so plays available in a short span before you run out of energy and need to wait for a recharge – or naturally, buy a refill. How the energy relates to retries feels inconsistent, however. Hitting the retry button after completing a stage to try to collect more ducks expectedly costs another energy slot. But you can fail a stage or hit the retry icon mid-match indefinitely without wasting energy. Since it’s a puzzle game that relies heavily on experimentation, we found ourselves in the habit of hitting the icon immediately the moment anything went wrong, just to make sure we were maximizing our rescued Ducks without burning through precious energy.
The ducks form the backbone of the second part of the stringent gating requirements, as most of the progress-inhibiting campaign map gates require a heavy percentage of the available ducks to that point. If you’ve failed to pick them up, of course, you'll need to go back through the stages to collect them again, thus sacrificing more energy. One gate we encountered even required three special keys, which could be requested from Facebook friends – or yes, purchased with real money. Such free-to-play shenanigans sully what should've been a stellar sequel.
The bottom line. Where’s My Water? 2 provides more physics-based puzzles without rocking the boat, but a barrage of freemium roadblocks – thanks in part to the baffling inclusion of an energy mechanic – drains fun from the latest adventure.
iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch running iOS 5.1 or later
Good stage variety. Reused stages show off versatility of stage design.
Energy mechanic hurts puzzle experimentation. Progress gates have fairly high requirements. Lack of many new ideas.