Review: Feed Me Oil
There are many puzzle games out there that have a very simple concept, but fail to bring enough complexity to the table, making each level incredibly easy to solve. Thankfully Feed Me Oil doesn't all into this trap. Perhaps it's a little bit too complicated, but to be honest I like being stretched mentally in a game such as this, so a big thumbs up on the design.
The goal is simple. Somewhere along the top of the screen you have an outflow of a pipe. Tap this and the oil flows out. All you need to do is get some of this oil into a specific area of the landscape. It would be easy of you had some pipes to take everything safely through the landscape, navigating the rocky landscape, changing gravity, doors, and obstacles. But you don't. You have platforms.
By placing the platforms around the landscape, you can divert the path of the oil. Using a mix of gravity, the landscape, and a few strategically placed platforms, you can set the oil on the right path. What I like about the design of Feed Me Oil is if you want to alter a platform's location or orientation, you simply tap the screen, and once completed, tap the oil outflow pipe to see how you get on with the new layout. This ability to do an instant replay without having to put all the platforms back means the game moves effortlessly between a coarse placing of the platforms to try an idea, and then perfecting the location.
You can restart a level and clear it, and there are times when this is the best way to go, but the majority of levels are a mix of discovering the principle to solving a level, and then implementing it with almost pixel perfect accuracy.
It's not just platforms you have - the next two pieces you will be able to use are a spinning windmill-like cross piece that can be set to rotate in either direction to turn oil around, and a fan to blow oil along or upwards against gravity. When the target space in the landscape is around a corner, or under an overhang, this is one of few options to use.
Feed Me Oil is hard, let's be clear on that. But it's not hard-impossible, it's hard-challenging. There's a comprehensive hints system that suggests where to put pieces of your equipment and leading you towards a solution. Each level only has a limited amount of equipment, so in many cases there are only a few options - and as you progress and understand the game, you get an understanding of what layouts and positions will work for you.
I also love that the end of level stars you are awarded actually mean something. Even on the early levels getting three out of three is not a simple task. As you progress up the levels the simple fact of passing a level is a huge mental reward - getting three stars is a real achievement and as I appreciate the difficulty curve, I also appreciate the reward curve.
Graphics are cartoonish but not cute, as befits the monsters hiding in the landscape that need to be fed oil. The physics behind the movement of the oil feels right - the stickiness and ability to move slowly and be pushed by more oil flowing behind it works well.
And the jazz-club-esque soundtrack shouldn't really work, but it does. Add the gloopy noises of the oil sloshing around the screen and you have a wonderfully interactive game with a wicked idea behind the core gameplay.
The whole thing works, and every element brings something to the table. Feed Me Oil is a really good puzzle game, and one that I'll recommend strongly, unless you have very little patience.
Reviewed by Ewan Spence at