How odd that Nintendo should schedule two major eShop releases in a month – cynics, add your own full stop here – that both conspicuously ignore 3DS’s signature feature. Hydroventure: Spin Cycle at least has a better excuse for ignoring 3D than Yoot Saito’s Aero Porter, as it’s also reliant on the handheld’s gyro sensor, tilts and twists guiding a mass of water around a series of storybook levels. Though a flat 2D image is easier on the eyes, the same can’t be said of the player’s wrists: as you turn your 3DS upside down, you’ll likely be thinking Spin Cycle is a much better fit for an Apple device.
Then again, this is deeper and more substantial than the majority of App Store releases. Curve’s sequel might repurpose some stages from its WiiWare predecessor, but there’s plenty of original content here, and a gentle story that lends the game a little whimsical character. In its smartly assembled stages, there are moments of Nintendo-like invention, with a laudable variety of objectives to complete. You’ll sweep goldfish back to their bowl one minute, and help a treasure hunter lift his haul above ground the next. Collectable jigsaw pieces unlock playgrounds to splash about in, while a five-star rating system provides replay value.
Admittedly, there’s little here to quicken the pulse, and some of later objectives are troublingly fiddly, with sensitive motion controls and increasingly intricate level design proving uncomfortable bedfellows. But otherwise this is an unusually clever, polished and robust eShop release that offers several hours’ worth of dizzy delights.