Fish Out Of Water!, the latest release from Halfbrick Studios, is now available from the app store. A casual affair featuring uniquely-skilled fish, quirky missions, and powerful gem combos, Fish Out Of Water! should feel right at home on any young gamer’s mobile device.
Fish Out Of Water! Pros:
- Polished cartoon graphics and fun animations
- Cheery soundtrack and hourly weather changes that impact gameplay
- Simple flick and tap control scheme
- Ability to join leagues to compete against other players
- GameCenter integration for leaderboards and achievements
Fish Out Of Water! Cons:
- Very simplistic and repetitive; gamer has little impact once fish is released
- Only uses Facebook and Google for league play
- Gems are earned slowly and their use isn’t all that eventful
Fish Out Of Water! offers up 6 fish (ok, a couple are actually mammals) whose unique skills afford them the ability to skip along the ocean surface like the myriad flat stones we flung in our youth. There is a whale whose body mass provides a significant amount of momentum, a dolphin who dives below the surface and springs back up time and again, a rocket fish whose low trajectory results in plenty of tiny skips, a blowfish whose expandable body gives him tennis ball-like bouncing effects, a blue fish that splits into several smaller fish, and an orange fish that seems to combine qualities from a few of his brethren. You choose 3 to fling across the water, determining speed and trajectory with your finger swipe. You have a quickly-depleting boost bar to give your fish a little something extra for their journey whenever your finger contacts the screen while the fish are in flight. Yellow boost orbs can be collected along the way to refill small amounts of this bar.
Each fish is rated on the number of skips he performs and the distance he travels before sinking into the water for good. The results of the three fish flights are aggregated and a panel of 5 crabs judges them on their performance. Each judge values something different, making scores near a perfect 10 quite difficult to come by. A dynamic weather system can have positive or negative effects on the in-game environment to either aid you in earning better results or act against your best efforts. A mission system provides a single objective at a time for you to complete, like skipping the whale 50 times or earning at least an 8 from the judges. For each 3 missions completed, you can open 1 of 3 chests that provide you with colored gems. Combine gems to form a fish shape and earn a special reward, like forcing the hard-to-please judge to give you a 10 after your next effort or increasing your boost bar by a small margin. Your scores can be compared with other gamers by logging in to either Facebook or Google to join leagues. Opting out of using GameCenter is a disappointing oversight. While this adds a bit of fun to the challenge, there isn’t a whole lot to the game and it doesn’t really feel like the scores matter all that much. Things get repetitive very quickly, and the compulsion to keep playing that is present in Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride is absent from this release.
Graphically, Halfbrick continues to hit it out of the park with ultracute cartoon visuals and charming animations. The weather effects are a cool addition, and the gem collecting has a bit of a lottery feel, as you never know what you’ll get from the treasure chests. The soundtrack is equally as cheery and cute as the visuals, and the touch controls are responsive and a breeze to pick up. Replay value comes mostly from trying to best your friends via the included social channels. In fact, a small display in the upper left corner is constantly noting scores of other players in various leagues. You can also find replay value in trying to best your own records for skips and distance, though we didn’t see anywhere that these were readily noted. GameCenter does provide leaderboards for best scores (an odd inclusion given the capped nature of the scoring system), total tens achieved (a more fitting use of leaderboards), and total skips (which has already been hacked). There are also more than a dozen achievements to earn. A universal app for $0.99, Fish Out Of Water! is a sweet and syrupy 3.5-Dimple game.
Fish Out Of Water! Review,