Fish Out Of Water! iPad Review

Boost your score with these Fish Out of Water tips.

At first, Halfbrick's Fish Out of Water! was somewhat of a tough sell. We understood the appeal of Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride, two games based on chopping and shooting things, respectively. Skipping fish along the surface of the ocean felt very 1950s, back when kids skipped rocks for kicks. You know, before video games.

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This initial skepticism quickly vanished after we zipped a few of those fish, destined to become plush toys, in our opinion. It only took a few minutes to realize Fish Out of Water! contains a welcome amount of depth in the way each creature behaves. Then we saw the five judges, all of which are these adorable crabs, and that was it. Late to dinner? Playing Fish Out of Water. Trouble getting out of bed? Still playing Fish Out of Water.

No really, we can't put it down. It's a great example of so many elements coming together to form an experience that is both addictive and irresistibly charming. It's the way each of the six characters (based on various forms of marine life) have distinct personas despite being unable to talk. Instead, personality comes in the form of unique abilities; the dolphin Finlay dives, while blowfish Errol bounces along the water, for example. You'll have favorites, three go-to fish that you feel most comfortable with. Good thing, since the game features a dynamic weather system that changes on the hour, going from calm to stormy seas, thereby changing a fish's performance to the slightest degree. The fact that you're able to check the forecast a few hours ahead lets you strategize before going for that perfect score.

The controls, as with all Halfbrick games, quickly become second nature. Place a finger on the desired fish and give it a good flick, paying close attention to collecting yellow orbs of sunlight known as boosties to propel your new friends even further. That's essentially the gist of it. Three fish per round and the crabs deliver the verdict, their scores based on a 10-point scale. Even better, each one's different. Skippy Steve may hand out a 9.5, but Distance Dorothy is a whole other animal, so to speak. Don't even get us started on Hard to please Harwood. He's a terror.

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There's more, thankfully. In addition to everything that we've mentioned, Fish Out of Water has a variety of achievements tied to a level up system where you stand to earn gems that, when combined, grant all sorts of bonuses, from 100m added to the next throw to a guaranteed 10 from one of the crabs. This also leads to the game's biggest issue. Gems are hard to come by, and leveling up may produce a single gem or a few, depending on how lucky you are. The only guarantee comes from in-app purchase, the cheapest option costing $4.99. Not that one needs gems to obtain a high score, but it helps.

Thing is, there's more to one's score than personal satisfaction. In a cool social twist, the game's virtual leagues give players the chance to team up with their friends, where each person's high score gets added to a total. It's a silly little thing that wound up grabbing us much longer than we expected; yes, there's a Modojo league, and we need help.

If anything, Fish Out of Water! proves that oftentimes, the simplest ideas fuel the best games. We've yet to decide where it ranks among Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride, but one thing is certain, you'll be hooked.

Review code provided by Halfbrick.

Download Fish Out of Water (iOS)

What's Hot:Constantly changing weather, charismatic albeit silent characters, cheery music, online leagues.

What's Not:Tough to accumulate gems through grinding.

4.0/5