Game Design Spotlight 3: Where’s My Water?


Format: iOS (available in regular, lite, and HD versions)

Developer: Disney Mobile

Designer: Timothy FitzRandolph

Swampy the Alligator lives under the city and yearns for a more humanlike existence. He is especially fond of cleanliness. Cranky and the other gators do not take kindly to Swampy’s eccentricities and have conspired to sabotage Swampy’s water supply. Help Swampy by guiding water to his shower!

Where’s My Water? is a water-based physics puzzler1, and although that isn’t anything new, it does have something that feels in short supply in tablet gaming: a character with a charming personality. I’m not saying that there aren’t some great characters already on touchscreen games. Mario, Professor Layton, and Barry Steakfries (to name a few) are all memorable characters. To be fair, though, these characters have had several years and/or games to build up their personalities. WMW?’s main character Swampy is charming right out of the gate. And this has everything to do with character design and animation.

It isn’t surprising that Swampy is well animated. WMW? is from Disney, after all. They know a thing or two about character design. Swampy’s animations have personality. He doesn’t just stand around idly while he waits for the player to fill up his tub. Swampy gazes hopefully at the shower head and cuddles with his rubber ducky. He ...

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