FishCraft #XBLIG VVGIndieVerse Review
By: Mr. Deeke
On this installment of VVG IndieVerse Reviews we’ll be taking a look at Gift Interactive’s fun and zaney puzzler XBLIG “FishCraft”. The review will be in the standard format–a list of stats for the game, five sections detailing the game, and a wrap-up complete with developer links and a video at the end.
FishCraft 80 MSP
This XBLIG is quite the hilarious and fun strategic puzzler. The game itself incorporates original aspects and is more of a collection of mini-games that span across multiple stages with different objectives. Take part in the epic war between fish and kitty cats in this entertaining and comical Indie. This game is much like a goofy Rube Goldberg invention crossed with the mechanics of the popular board games “Mouse Trap” and “Fish Bait”. FishCraft has also been compared to the XBLIG “Angry Birds” in many ways.
- Developer – Gift Interactive (Frozen Soft)
- Genre – Action & Adventure
- XBL Marketplace URL – FishCraft
- Release Date – 2/20/2011
- Try or Buy? – Buy
- Price – 80 MSP
- Rating – 4/5
I. Story Line
FishCraft’s story focuses on the epic struggle between two natural enemies: fish and cats. For ages those sweet, cuddly kitties have been munching on the fish-folk and they’re tired of it–now it’s time for revenge! Armed with a hilarious fish-cannon, the aquatic scalies declare war on kitten-kind, and what ensues is the epic battle between fur and fins!
II. Game Mechanics
The mechanics for FishCraft are quite surprisingly complex–the physics system is very realistic and the puzzles can be quite random in the reactions. Basically your goal in the game is to solve the puzzle by defeating the kittens–you do this by having items fall upon them or into them, and this can be achieved in literally thousands of ways. Using a cannon, you must apply arc of descent physics in order to get your shots to reach their destination.
Gravity is a key aspect in the mechanics, and players must be aware of how things fall and react to certain movements. Certain objects that are in the puzzles can be smashed and broken (like boxes) and other objects can’t be destroyed (like stones) but can be moved to fall upon the kittens. The randomness that is involved with each stage is another part of the game which provides nearly infinite replayability and being able to do everything different even though the stages themselves are the same.
As the player progresses through the story, the structures become more complex and crazy–the last levels seem quite impossible but when armed with the right kind artillery, even the most intimidating puzzle can be a cakewalk. The key to completing each stage is to try, try, and try again–sometimes you’ll get lucky and hit everything with one shot, but it’s best to plan ahead and strategically plan your attacks. Critical thinking is definitely advised with this type of game.
There are many different types of fish that act as a form of artillery–each type offers a unique attack. Successfully utilizing these fish is the key to earning high scores and completing the game.
Red Fish are the normal, everyday fishies that don’t do anything special other than collide with objects.
The Yellow fish, or what I like to call “superfish”, can fly directly into objects and structures by pressing Y, but players must be careful because it’s very easy to mess up a shot with this type.
The Black fish, or “sploderfish”, can explode and knock objects and structures down in a certain radius; this fish is extremely useful for the later stages, yet its harder to strategically use these fish as you never know where the objects will be after the explosion.
Blue Fish, or what I like to call “bomberfish”, fly high and drop bombs down below to destroy objects/structures. These fish are incredibly useful and are usually limited.
IV. Unique Features
FishCraft has three different adventures composed of three levels with 21 stages a piece–that’s 63 different stages that players can enjoy for each adventure. And since each stage gets harder and harder as gamers progress, the game itself doesn’t get dull and is always challenging. The number of adventures/stages/levels is quite astounding for a XBL Indie, especially one that is only 80 MSP.
Using the unique arc of descent aspect of physics is another unique feature that’s represented in FishCraft. This title contains rather unique physics that allow experienced players to easily defeat even the hardest of levels, yet mastering this dynamic takes time.
Some stages can be quite tedious so careful planning and strategy is required at some points, as well as the basic process of elimination to see which shots work or fail. There is also a trace-line that shows players the previous shot’s direction, allowing them to fine-tune the next shot.
The different kinds of artillery provide for a unique experience in this Indie, especially when using the superfish and bomberfish to solve certain puzzles. While using these fish the player can experience more rewarding gameplay as it is more gratifying to see explosions and to see fishies smash through wooden towers and other structures.
Infinite Replayability! FishCraft’s stages, even the earlier ones, can all be played a different way as strategy varies from gamer to gamer. The randomness of the affects of each shot are another reason that this game can be replayed over and over, considering each shoot represents new potential for a glorious victory or a disappointing failure. With over a hundred levels to play, FishCraft is sure to keep gamers busy for hours.
It’s Fun! Let’s face it–there are many XBL Indie Games out there that are wacky and humorous, but very few of them are as fun as they are zany. FishCraft incorporates humor and entertainment in one clean package that’s easy on the eyes. Whether you’re a casual gamer or a professional gamer, this game will surely be enjoyable for players of all ages.
Graphics. I have to admit, I don’t normally enjoy Indie Games that have cartoonish graphics because of the overall quality that most of them lack. FishCraft, on the other hand, is an exception with it’s extremely clean animated graphics that are flawless yet simple. These visuals are a perfect fit for a game of it’s type, and they are polished and finished quite nicely to compliment the game’s overall style.
It’s Challenging. Most gamers have come to expect an element of simplicity from Indie Games, and although FishCraft seems quite easy at the start, it gets quite challenging as the game progresses. Some players might not like the overall cannon function and may find it too difficult to use, and might not enjoy having to plan out their shots or carefully consider the consequences. Also since there is no way to test the angle of your shots beforehand, the game itself is harder than it should be.
Tedious and Time Consuming. Indie Games have been known for their shortness (especially the demos) in terms of gameplay, but FishCraft can be a bit too long to some. Compulsive gamers who are determined to beat every game they buy or try will find this game to be a bit problematic, as there are some stages that literally take up to a dozen tries to complete. In the later stages, players must carefully weigh the decisions of their shots or risk failure; this kind of planning is something that may turn away players.
Overall, FishCraft is a welcome addition to the XBLIG market and is enjoyable to gamers of all ages and play styles. It incorporates unique aspects such as flawless graphics, cartoonish humor, challenging puzzles and a myriad of adventures, stages, and levels. While there are a few things wrong with it in terms of gameplay (there’s no way to trace your shots, and stages can be quite tedious), FishCraft is overall a fun and enjoyable Indie experience.
(Trailer courtesy of VVGtv’s owner Master Blud)
For more information on FishCraft and the development studio that created it, visit Frozen Soft’s Website.