It's rare that a WiiWare game could justifiably be a full-price Wii title but Hydroventure is one such game.
An evil force called the Influence is corrupting a magical book called the Aquapedia by dropping dark sludge and slimy enemies on its pages. Controlling a small puddle of water, you have to collect the Rainbow Drops scattered around the Aquapedia's pages. As you collect Drops the book clears up the sludge.
The graphical style is clever. Small tunnels connect the pictures (it's like a comic book), allowing you to easily travel from panel to panel. Each of the game's four chapters is a huge world consisting of multiple pages.
It can be devilishly tricky but this is also what makes Hydroventure so enjoyable. A simple act of dropping down a ledge can lead to chaos if you don't make sure the whole puddle has dropped down before you tilt the level in another direction, since it could leave you with two smaller puddles.
Collecting the Rainbow Drops is also a treat. Whether you're collecting smaller coloured drops to fill the rainbow one, using your water to guide a rubber duck into a bath or helping firemen put out some fires, you'll be constantly impressed at the number of different tasks you'll face.
The new abilities you collect each have a sizeable impact on the way you play the game. Once you earn the 'gather' ability and are able to bring all your water together it completely changes your tactics since it makes jumping gaps a lot easier if all your water is in one big spongy ball instead of a sloshy mess.
Similar changes occur when you get the ability to heat or freeze your water. Freezing into a block of ice allows you to flick switches and break walls. As steam, you can float to previously unreachable areas and power electrical switches with lightning (after which you can simply shake the Remote to make the cloud rain, turning you back into water again).
However, when you're a block of ice the controls can get a little frustrating, especially when you're using the freeze ability to stick to walls and wall-jump.
Yet this doesn't ruin the experience. If you can spare a tenner this Christmas, get Hydroventure. It's easily one of the most creative and inventive games we've played in years on any console, let alone on a Nintendo system.
This is an edited version of a review from the January issue of Official Nintendo Magazine. For more in-depth analysis and screenshots, buy the magazine here.