wed 16/10/2019

Fluid SE | reviews, news & interviews

Fluid SE

Fluid SE

A finely tuned test of skill that will draw you back for just one more try

'Fluid SE':

Sometimes, if you get really proficient at a game you might be lucky enough to enter the psychological state known as "flow", where you become so focused and at one with the task in hand that time seems to compress, everything starts to feel just right and the game could almost be said to be playing you. You are in the zone. Some games more than others seem to actively invite players into this special place, and Fluid SE* practically demands that you jump in with both feet if you are to have any chance at all.

At heart, Fluid SE is a time trials racer mixed with a dash of Pac-Man. You have to guide your little black fish, Streak, around the screen to grab luminous dots. The time it takes to grab all the dots on a level gives you a star rating between one and five. Each level is graded differently so a tricky layout might award two stars for completion within 18 seconds whereas a simpler course might demand completion in under 10 seconds to get the same reward.

Fluid SEYou swim around using a very responsive virtual joystick, with a second control on the other side of the screen that will zoom you in and out of the level, so you can see more of the course at once. You can speed up by running over special arrow icons or by hugging a curved surface to get a sort of "gravity slingshot" effect - a crucial trick if you want to cut your completion times by a few fractions of a second.

Shaving off hard-won milliseconds through luck and skill is the only way to progress in Fluid SE. Levels come in groups of five and you must rack up enough aggregate stars between each group to advance to the next five. The times are tight, to the point of seeming impossibility in some cases.

Often you will think that you are tearing around at the absolute limit of your skills with just three stars to show for it. How can you go from your tough 11.3 seconds personal best to the frankly ridiculous 5.00 second four star time? And then you slip into the flow, skimming every corner at just the right angle and find you have smashed through five seconds into a perfect 4.3 second five-star victory.

Or not. Do not apply if you don't enjoy a little drop or two of frustration because after a few hours versus Fluid SE you wil be bathing in the stuff.

Fluid SEOf course, zipping about isn't the end of it. Every glowing dot you gobble up leaves behind a sort of spectral dot that will attempt to follow you and destroy you on contact. The spectres move in a loose flock-like formation but are predictable enough that you can rely on them to be in roughly the right place when you zoom back around their neck of the woods following a tricky curve.

You are helped by special areas that will give speed boosts (in a single direction only) or give special powers like anti-spectre spikes or a temporary boost in size which gives immunity to bad guys at the cost of reduced speed. Often these powerups serve more as enticing red herrings that need to be ignored in favour of seeking out a dangerous but faster route. Other times, you won't be able to crack 15 seconds without their help. Choose wisely.

There is no cumbersome backstory to Fluid SE. No in-app purchases to drain your wallet and not a cutscene in sight. What you get is just a pure and unadulterated test of skill and, if you are lucky, a ticket into the zone.

(*the SE stands for Special Edition, although we're not quite sure how it differs from the Ordinary Edition)

And then you slip into the flow, skimming every corner at just the right angle...

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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