Not all videogames have the same goal. Some seek to challenge the player, others, to relax them. Halfbrick usually resides somewhere comfortably in the middle, with easy-to-pick-up titles like Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride -- but this time, they're going all out relaxation.
Fish Out of Water is their newest iOS release, featuring gameplay that equates to nothing more than skipping stones across a pond as you unwind your mind. And you know what? For the most part, that's okay.
Fish out of Water (iPad, iPhone [reviewed on an iPhone 5]) Developer: Halfbrick Publisher: Halfbrick Released: April 18, 2013 (iOS) MSRP: $0.99 (with minor microtransactions
Fish Out of Water, simply put, is a game about throwing and skipping fish across the sea for points. You'll choose from a pool of six fish -- including a dolphin, which the game highlights is not a fish -- as you set out to appease five crab judges and earn the highest score possible.
One fish excels with horizontal flings, another, vertical movements. One of the fish splits into multiple fish to maximize skips, and another can be flung really high into the air for maximum distance and so on. As you fly through the air, you can randomly pick up boost orbs. Reading the weather and decided which fish to fling, and the technique of the actual toss, is key to consistent success, but beyond tapping the screen to boost at the right moments, there's a massive amount of luck involved that may turn off people looking for a deeper play session.
As shallow as it sounds, it's actually pretty fun in short bursts. Like an interactive zen garden, the plopping sounds and whimsical music are fairly relaxing, and although it's a departure from the unique graphical style of Halfbrick's usual work, the cute designs work on a fundamental level.
Fish has a rudimentary "challenge" system in place, tasking you with goals like "skip 50 times" or "maintain a certain speed for 15 seconds." These goals help to keep you engaged, but they aren't nearly as interesting or addictive as say, Jetpack Joyride's challenges. Most of the goals are dry, and don't really do a good job of making me feel like I absolutely need to complete them, which is a problem.
There's a "league" system in place, where you can sign up to represent a named team (such as Destructoid, or Reddit), with a scoreboard that collects every member's maximum rating and pits them against other teams. It's a somewhat neat feature, provided you're willing to link your Google or Facebook account to do it.
But despite the zen-like nature of the game, one of Fish Out of Water's major faults is the lack of replay value. The maximum score you can earn is a cumulative "10," and on top of that, fish don't have individual power-ups to utilize, which leads to a homogenization of gameplay. Maybe if each fish had a leveling system, where you could actually feel a sense of progression, I would feel the urge to push on -- but as it stands, I'm only compelled to pick the game up for a few minutes, then put it back down.
The magic of most of Halbrick's games is the addictive need to keep playing at all costs. In fact, I spent three hours once running through Jetpack Joyride's challenges until I effectively "beat" the game, only to prestige and keep playing more. With Fish out of Water, it's not the same experience, as it can really only be played in short spurts.
Fish has in-app-purchases, but they're so hard to find that I almost think Halfbrick didn't even want to include them. If you click on a tiny icon in the corner, you can buy a collection of one-use power-up crystals to buff your fish -- the same crystals you earn through completing challenges. While almost a non-issue, it's something to be aware of.
If you're looking for a new time waster, Fish Out of Water is a decent experience, despite its lack of depth. If you require something with a little more meat on its bones, feel free to wait, because in all likelihood, just like Jetpack Joyride, this will go free at some point given the fact that in-app-purchases are already featured.
Likable - That's a seven, which is actually a different number than five. It's more than ok. We like this game. I don't want to play it every day forever and ever, but it's definitely worth the time I invested in it, and I'll be picking it up again to relive the fun sometime down the line.
Dr Mel This fucking Bloodborne DLC, jesus. I'm on new game+, about level 90, and shit just tears my dick off. I don't know if I want to start another guy just to avoid NG+ and level him up, etc. sigh....Shinta Wii U, top selling black friday item on target.com. Take that you anti-Wii U people.
http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/11/27/wii-u-helps-drive-targets-biggest-online-shopping-day-ever?utm_source=IGN%20hub%20page&utm_medium=IGN%20(front%20page)&utm_contenCoilWhine I am pretty hyped for when I get a laptop because I'll be able to have a good enough connection to stream XbOne/soon PS4 games to it along with natively rendered Steam games. Hype!Avoclefo Got a PS4 that came with SW Battlefront this week, and planning on picking up the FFX/X-2 remake. Hype is through the roof, especially for FFX. If I were to get one other game, what should it be?Niero Desu Did a google maps search around my parents house for bars and there isn't one in like 25 miles, so I picked up an Intel compute stick and South Park: Stick of Truth on Steam. That's more or less the drunken screaming I'm in the mood for at about the cost.OrochiLeona Do you ever have that moment of clarity when talking to someone and suddenly realising: You're just a skull, and they're just a skull, with fucking eyeballs and a sac of skin being the only comparative difference between you visually? ..just me then?Nathan D After quitting for two days out of frustration, I beat Ludwig on my first try of the night. I'm on cloud fucking nine right now. Pixie The Fairy When I did my retail shift today, we were moving more Smash/Splat Wii U bundles and the Gears/Rare Replay/Ori XB1 bundles than Uncharted and Battlefront PS4s. I think Nintendo and MS have better value on their side this holiday. Sony got lazy.Confuseddalek I found this weird game called Samurai Heroes for 8 dollars today. Its not bad.Solar Pony Django Got Deadpool, Arkham Asylum and BioShock 1 and 2 all for 30$. Not to bad for going Black Friday shopping late.RadicalYoseph If you haven't played Tales from the Borderlands yet, GO BUY IT! By far the funniest game I have ever played, and the characters and narrative are incredibly well written. Very few memes unlike BL2 by the way.James Internet Ego Played all of Life is Strange today in one sitting. Bloody hell. You should all play it. Only game this year to make me cry. Bravo developers. Possibly the most valuable thing I've ever bought for £10.Gamemaniac3434 Last night, got farther than ever in Wasteland 2. This is my third playthrough-once thru beta, once through the orig version, now on Directors cut. Worth the restart, and it speaks highly of the game that I like it enough to do this. DAMONTA HERE I COME!KeithTheGeek GUYS HELP I KEEP BUYING MORE AMIIBO.
Today it was Little Mac, since he went back up on Gamestop's website. I probably would have gotten Captain Falcon as well if I wasn't already running a little short on cash.BigDoniel 50 hours in and I can safely say that Xenoblade is the best JRPG I've played in years. Should hopefully be finished in time for X too!Pixie The Fairy One job down on day I should have off, now for the other job.CoilWhine I beat Murasaki Baby on PS Vita. Easy 100% trophy. That ending theme tho. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UhjLfeetxM8TheGwailo I have 34 games in my Steam queue alone, 4 on xbone, and a handful on handhelds. I have 3 days to make a dent. Time's up, let's do this!Archelon Community Question: To make up for yesterday, I decided to ask a second Community Question today. Have you taken advantage of any Black Friday deals today? If so, what did you purchase? Feel free to share pictures of your spoils, if you have any.Jiraya Some Black Friday artwork arrived today !