Save That Fish is the first game from the independent studio Six5 Mobile. It is playable on all iOS Devices and soon will be ported to Android, a logical step since the game was developed in Lua using the Corona SDK.
The story goes like this, Gill (the fish’s name) is living a peacefully in the ocean until captured and sold as a feeder fish. He is now in an aquarium tank for piranhas, and basically you have 60 seconds to help him escape to a safe fish bowl before it is dinner time for the piranhas. To do this you have a number of “jump” boxes which come in three different colors, each representing a different power intensity jump. You must place them between the obstacles such that when Gill leaps from his prison tank, he utilizes these jumps to reach the fish bowl, so yes, it’s a puzzle game.
The game has 5 rooms with different backgrounds and obstacles and a total of 45 levels. The concept of Save That Fish is good, and Six5 Mobile is clearly trying the “Cut the Rope formula for this game. However it doesn’t quite meet this goal.
First let’s consider the game’s graphics. The developer did a good job here, they support retina display and the art is bright and colorful, but nothing spectacular in the art department, there is still room for improvement. What really needs more work is the introductory cut scene, it’s just not up to par with the rest of the game. Moving onto the music and sound effects, I found everything in place, simple and not intrusive, but lacking what I like to call the “whistle effect”. You know, a soundtrack that you remember and which unexpectedly pops into your head and you find yourself compelled to whistle it. A good example of the “whistle effect” is the angry birds theme. Sadly there is not even one theme (should be the main one) that I found melodically catchy, and I doubt that anyone will remember the musical score of this game. That being said, overall the music and sound effects are good for what they are.
As far as actual gameplay, unfortunately there is one really big mistake in this department. In order to be played, Save That Fish requires scrolling amongst screens. Most levels are spread across multiple screens and you must scroll between screens to reach the fish bowl. Unfortunately, instead of a smooth scroll that allows the player to place a block anywhere along the way, the screens SNAP into place. That means moving a block from one screen to another is more difficult than it ought to be. For instance, if you want to place a block on the second screen of the level, you need to drag the block so it goes slightly off the right side of the screen, then drag the screen so it snaps over to the next screen, then drag the block again into it’s desired location! This is a really poor design choice, making the game at times more frustrating than fun. Scrolling levels should never have snapping screens, this could have been be mitigated a little by featuring a pinch and zoom control over levels to make it more enjoyable.
Save That Fish is a solid effort and quite a good first game for an indie developer, but the awkward screen snapping/scrolling implementation really hurts the playability and your over all enjoyment of the game. My advice to Six5 Mobile would be to address this with an update as soon as possible. I’n the meantime, I’d recommend checking out the lite version before making a purchase decision.