Fish Out of Water Review – In-App Porpoises

I haven’t had too much time for big, expansive games as of late and instead have been using my small amounts of time here and there to absorb smaller games, mostly on my iPhone. Luckily, Halfbrick Studios has me covered. I didn’t know anything about Fish Out of Water before I purchased it. All it took was seeing that Halfbrick had released a new game to get me onto the App Store. Halfbrick have created most of the only iOS games to ever stick with me: Monster Dash, Jetpack Joyride, Fruit Ninja, etc. And, besides, even it didn’t live up to those high standards, what’s a dollar in the long run, anyway?

It turns out that Fish Out of Water is incredibly successful in killing small amounts of time, but doesn’t have the long tail (sorry) that most of their other games have.

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Each round of Fish Out of Water begins with your adorable cast of characters swimming around in the small starting area. From here, you’ll choose a fish and fling it, much like Angry Birds. Instead of throwing in a parabola, though, most of the fish should be thrown much more horizontally. Your ultimate goal is to fling fish as far as you can and make them skip across the top of the water like stones as many times as possible. Once you’ve thrown three, you’ll be judged by the game’s five crabby judges.

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Getting as close as possible to a perfect 10.0 is your ultimate goal, but to get there you’ll have to master the different fish and their individual styles while also taking the weather into account. The game uses a real-life timer to change weather depending on what time it is, so launching it several hours later may see your silky smooth seas transform into a choppy nightmare. Mastering what fish you use in what weather is the real secret to success. Rocket, for example, is a poor choice in stormy weather, because his lightning-fast skipping can cause him to penetrate straight through large waves, stopping him instantly.

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I won’t get into the specifics of each fish here, because discovering their strengths and weaknesses is half the fun of Fish Out of Water.

Unfortunately, I found out that once I’d figured most of them out, I settled on set strategies, which left me in the constant 8.5-9.5 range. Being able to consistently score that high killed the replay value for me — I don’t have much farther up to climb. And, chances are, I won’t beat those scores on my own.

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That’s where the ultimate flaw of Fish Out of Water comes into play: the consumables. By completing three individual tasks that the game lays out for you before each round, you’ll level up, which doesn’t affect your abilities, but allows you to choose one of three treasure chests. Inside these chests will be random colored gems that you can use to make power-ups. You’ll use one small gem and one large gem to create one power-up. Different color combos give you different effects. Regretfully, these seem to be the keys to the game’s highest scores. And they’re doled out shockingly slowly.

You can always buy packs of gems, though. Sigh.

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There’s also “league” functionality, which allows you to join a group of your friends to see (and hopefully beat) their scores as you play. Beating their scores earns you nothing but bragging rights as of yet and because scores can differ wildly each round, there’s little satisfactory about it. Especially with no distinction to let you know whether or not they’ve used power-ups.

In the end, Fish Out of Water is a fun little game to kill a few minutes here and there, but it never sucked me in and refused to let go like most other Halfbrick games have. The charming characters and sound design are well worth the $.99 entry fee, but doesn’t amalgamate into anything particularly satisfying.

[Final Breakdown]

[+Adorable] [+Fun in Brief Bites] [-Purchasable Consumables] [-Competition Falls Flat]

okay

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