(WiiWare)

Fishie Fishie (WiiWare)

Game Review

Fishie Fishie Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Sean Aaron

All-you-can-eat fish feeding frenzy

Fish have been a staple of games ever since Herman Melville adapted Moby Dick for Babbage's legendary Difference Engine and the posthumous sequel, Moby Dick 2: Queequeg's Revenge, was published for the PDP-11 . Certainly on WiiWare we've seen some real blockbusters centred around our finny cousins, prompting many forumites to declare that merely the presence of fish in a WiiWare title is a recipe for success. DK Games' treatment of the downloadable game from Farbs certainly fills the net for Wii gamers with water on the brain, offering up several play modes for solo or multiplayer enjoyment, all played with a mere press of the (A) button.

Your titular fishie is continually starving thanks to having a "hole in his stomach" (according to the in-game tutorial) and must eat smaller fishies to survive through multiple game modes, including Story, Survival, Skill Run, Capture the Star and Soccer. You may well wonder how you could possibly control an ever-hungry fish with a single button, but the explanation is both simple and elegant. Your fish is constantly swimming in circles: pressing (A) reverses the direction of travel and pressing (A) repeatedly results in a forward swimming action with more rapid presses producing a burst of speed, a la Sega's Ecco the Dolphin. To ensure you get the hang of things you'll have tutorials to walk you through basic moves and supplements which address mechanics specific to the different play modes included.

There are two broad categories: Quick Play and Championship, which have a couple of overlapping play modes, but can be thought of more or less as collections of single player and multiplayer games. Each game mode can be played at Easy, Normal or Hard difficulty, with their own unique stages and different medals to achieve. Outside of Story Mode and Skill Run, all games feature four players, with any player not controlled by a human given life by the CPU.

As single player affairs, Story Mode, Skill Run and Survival are the most successful. In Story Mode players are tasked with completing four sets of five levels in each of the three difficulties. Your score increases as you eat fish without pause; if you go for more than a second or two between bites you'll lose your multiplier and end up with a lower score. You need to complete all five levels in the set to get a score recorded – not an easy task even on Easy difficulty because your fish dies if it goes without eating for too long, and mastering the single-button controls can prove to be a challenge even for experienced gamers. Though there is some frustration to be experienced due to the requirement to eat every fish to finish a level, it's not too bad thanks to the ability to quickly have another go without repeating the levels you've already completed (assuming you don't choose to quit) and you'll find with a bit of practice you'll be eating fish with the best of them. The difficulty ramps up gradually with static fish patterns giving way to fish that swim away from you and finally the introduction of "nasty fish" who hurt you if you touch them and serve as obstacles.

Skill Run is essentially about players mastering the controls with the only competitive aspect being to eat a string 10 fish before time runs out (and before other players in a multiplayer match). Each player has their own target fish with a five second timer on it; if it runs out before you reach it your game is over, but if you manage to eat it in time a new one will spawn elsewhere on the level and the process will start again. There are 2-second boost items which will add to the clock, but otherwise it's all about precision. As you increase in difficulty the target fish will swim away from you and then those nasty fish will show up to get in your way.

Survival is a 4-player game in which the difficulty is married to the score required to win: 5, 10 or 15 levels; with players 2-4 being played by the CPU if you don't have anyone else to play with. You play through a series of levels until only one player remains who gets the point. Levels appear to be a random selection from the Story Mode of play which will sometimes repeat, but competing to get the most fish keeps things fresh. It's fast-paced and works well either alone or with others.

Less successful as single-player games are the Capture the Star (capture the flag, but with a starfish instead of a flag) and Soccer variants, simply because your AI teammate will act without any regard to your actions, making it very difficult to win against the AI team which actually behaves like a team. In these games little fish are present to bump up your health along with bonus items that have gameplay affects like slowing down the action, speeding up your fish or temporarily surrounding your goal with nasty fish. Multiplayer is clearly where these games shine with frantic button-pressing as you jostle with other players to hit a ball through a goal or run a starfish back-and-forth between bases. If you only have one other person to play with you can play a co-op match against the CPU or face-off with AI teammates in tow in either a one-off match or full multi-game tournament. For those with only a couple of Remotes, it's nice to know that other players can use the Nunchuk if necessary, pressing (Z) instead of (A) to make their fishies swim.

The graphics are nice and colourful, and there's a large range of arenas on offer with quite a bit of variety in level shape and the presence of obstacles in the form of rocky reefs to swim around and the aforementioned nasty fish that can create quite a challenge. There's also cute little touches like your fish making amusing comments when it dies ("What, I'm dead? Cool!") and entertaining lines of poetry introducing each level in story mode. The peppy music loop and splashy swimming sound effects round things out, with the odd squeaks of little fish when you near them (and crunch when you snack on them) being a particular favourite.

Conclusion

Fishie Fishie isn't the deepest game in the world, but it provides a sizeable diversion with all the play modes on offer. Though its simple controls make it more accessible, it will take a bit of play to master. The "moreish" gameplay will keep you coming back for an extra go, though we think it's more likely to be a hit in households with multiple gamers than amongst the solo gaming crowd.

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Game Trailer

User Comments (16)

KeeperBvK

#2

KeeperBvK said:

The controls sound terrible and the visuals horribly remind me of airplane shovelware, so I'll give it a pass nonetheless.

Omega

#3

Omega said:

Does not look very interesting. For 5 euros, I'd rather buy 3 packs of fish fingers.

Sean_Aaron

#4

Sean_Aaron said:

It's actually a decent little game, though as stated it's more fun with multiple players. My favourite mode single-player is Survival because it's fast-paced.

zane

#5

zane said:

I liked equilibrio pretty much, bet i'le get this... Awesome review btw Sean, whenever you write up something as good it's always a must have in the collection. Except shmups :P

brandonbwii

#8

brandonbwii said:

I somehow figured it would get this score. I love the low price point and having a multiplayer party game that's not a minigame collection on Wii is certainly a plus. The unfortunate thing is that nowadays, I don't have any one to play with (online or off) so I mainly stick with single-player focused fare.

EDIT: Just finished reading the full review and the game actually sounds quite fun. I find it being only four players to actually be a bit of a bummer. Since it uses a nunchuck and remote for four player games, why not up the player count to eight a la Driift Racing?

miketh2005

#9

miketh2005 said:

I disagree, I think this should've got an 8. Keep in mind the price point. At 500 points, your getting SOOO much game for sooo little buck! I think anyone with 5 bucks to spare should buy this game.

@KeeperBvK: Why bash a game you've never played? The controls are fine, they are made to be challenging. It's like you don't trust Sean. If the controls were bad, Sean would've said so. Play the freeware version and see if you like the game, first.

Sean_Aaron

#10

Sean_Aaron said:

I think it works better with four players. In the team based games more than two on two would probably get too hectic and in the free-for-all modes it would be completely insane.

I like the fact that you can play with four people without having four remotes (not everyone does) and think more multiplayer games should consider that option.

KeeperBvK

#11

KeeperBvK said:

@ miketh2005: I'm not bashing the game, I'm just sharing my impression of the visuals and the controls, two things I can clearly see without playing the game. And yeah, I should "trust" every single word of any reviewer here. Coz there's no way they could be wrong or simply have a different opinion or taste than anybody else. You're even disagreeing with the score, so there's hardly better evidence than that to show how I don't need to "trust" a review to full extent.
And just for the record: I never said the controls were horrible, but they sound horrible.

Omega

#12

Omega said:

^ Ha ha. This is great.
How can you dare to have a different view than the reviewer?
If you do not trust the reviewer and not worship him then you should leave. And you should be ashamed of yourself. :-)

Moco_Loco

#16

Moco_Loco said:

I tried the freeware version and found the controls annoying. I don't know if they're any better at all in this expanded game, but I prefer to feel as in control of the game as possible. One button control is awesome when we're talking about a game where it's logical, like Tomena Sanner, but it just doesn't seem to make sense here.

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