Halfbrick has quite a catalog of iOS games with Fruit Ninja, Jetpack Joyride, Age of Zombies, Monster Dash, and they just have released their newest game, Fish Out Of Water. The new game continues Halfbrick’s design trends of making casual games with wide appeal, and this one is the most casual to date. The game is all about slinging fish as far as you can in an endless launching game along the lines of Burrito Bison, Jumping Finn Turbo, Flapcraft, Vikings Can Fly, Fly Kiwi Fly, and Mr. Bill, with the main differences revolving around Halfbrick’s polish. Fish Out Of Water is perfect for pick up, and play as you simply grab a fish, and then slide your finger across the screen to launch it forward. The power, and trajectory of the fish toss is based on how you slide your finger.
The game is super accessible to anyone, and unlike the one touch controls of Jetpack Joyride that require continuous tapping, this one offers single touch controls. You do have the ability to tap to boost your fish while they’re in the air to help them skip off the surface of the water. That’s about all there is to the gameplay though, but there are plenty of extras building upon that basic mechanic. First off, there are multiple types of fish with different qualities which impact how you toss them to maximize distance, and skips. You’re given three throws to build up the greatest combination of skips, and distance, and then a panel of five crabs give you a score out of ten, Olympics style. There are different crabs with unique judging requirements, and combined with the multiple fish, highlight the personality that Halfbrick infuses into their games.
It wouldn’t be an endless launching game without upgrades to better your score, and in Fish Out Of Water there are gems to craft for special boosts. You can unlock gems by completing objectives, and leveling up, or of course buy them. The objective system is similar to JetPack Joyride, but with a much more simplistic implementation whether it’s the barebones design, or the limited ability to only shoot for one objective at a time. The final extra feature is a league system similar to the guilds in Nimble Quest, and flight crews in Pocket Planes. All three games suffer from the same fate of being lackluster additions due to popularity being the metric, while the leaderboards should be based on average score, not total score.
After diving into the game, you realize how little there actually is, and just ten minutes lets you see everything a few times over. Fish Out Of Water is an extremely basic experience that is awfully repetitive as you toss fish, watch them skip, and do it again. The main problem is that there’s no incentive to do it again since each throw plays out practically the same. Other games in the genre have extensive permanent upgrade systems, but not Fish Out Of Water. Instead you’re given basic temporary power-ups that don’t change the overall gameplay very much. After a few tosses, you’re just waiting for another aspect of the game to appear, but it never does leaving you in a sea of sameness, monotonously flinging fish devoid of any emotion.
Fish Out Of Water ($0.99, Universal) makes a splash because of the development studio, but the actual game provides a rudimentary experience that feels better suited for an iPhone game from 2008 in the first days of the App Store. It’s shockingly basic with some of the most repetitive gameplay I’ve seen without anything extra to keep you coming back. This is one to steer well clear of, as it also has the makings to drop to free soon with the in-app purchases for gems, similar to the price drop of Jetpack Joyride.
Halfbrick laid a brick with Fish Out Of Water.