Sprinkle was a simple game: You sprayed water at anything that burned. Simple doesn’t mean easy, of course, and some of Sprinkle’s puzzles were a total pain. It could get so annoying that you’d be forgiven for wanting to throw your adorable little alien fireman into the fire.
Sprinkle Islands makes that simple concept a little more complex by adapting it into a side-scroller. Your fire engine now rolls to the left, and you have to target and extinguish every flame you come by. You can aim by raising or lowering the hose on your truck with one finger and spray water by pushing a button with another. In addition to fire, and in the time-tested fashion of side-scrolling platformers, you’ll have to use the tremendous water pressure of your hose to wash away obstacles or lower bridges that impede your path. Your water supply is limited, so you need to aim carefully and spray wisely. It’s like potty-training a boy.
Adjusting the height and angle of the hose feels slightly awkward at first. You can’t directly aim the stream—you can only lower and raise the ladder that the hose is attached to. It seems counter-intuitive when you start the game—it is based on touch, so pointing at what you want to extinguish makes sense—but you’ll quickly learn to account for it. The water physics can be a little unpredictable, but it’s far from the crapshoot that other physics-based puzzlers often devolve into (think a certain strand of pissed-off birds and their unknowable path of destruction.) Physics should be at least somewhat understandable in a physics-based puzzler, and Sprinkle Islands pulls that off.
One of the signs of a good sequel is the ability to take the core concept of a game in a new direction without losing the spirit of the original game. Sprinkle Islands is an elegant example of that philosophy. It still feels like Sprinkle, but with a new approach to puzzle design that feels notably different from the original.
Developer: Mediocre Games
Platform: Android / iOS
Release date: 07/10/13