Week in Arcade: Quarrel, Puddle

A wild $5 Xbox Live Arcade game appears!

Quarrel

Yes, it’s true. Five dollar Live Arcade games do exist, and they can be great too. This iOS port is a word battle within a traditional board game; think Catan mixed with Scrabble. You manage small sets of troops who can be defeated based on the strength of the opponent’s word. All letter scrambles have anagrams to discover, or they can be pieced out into smaller words if your opponent isn’t that snappy. There are enough quirks in the game design to keep the maps active against one or three other players. Quarrel has a great visual design and peppy music to keep the good vibes flowing, and all of this can be taken online for worldwide war. It’s the right game at the right price.

Puddle

Players control a puddle of water that needs siphoned through various locations and contraptions, either within a set time or with a specific level of water. The stages are tilted side to side, and physics don’t seem to adhere to any known reality. Just stopping the flow of water is frustratingly slow, meaning yes, water will flow uphill on its own power. There’s a snide, mean-spirited side to Puddle too, telling players they’re whining if they skip a level, and they should cry some more if they want additional skips. Better yet, just skip this $10 title all together, despite a nifty concept.