Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Echoes of Ecco

Another day, another indie. This time a quick look at a quick game.

Fish Face
.exe file, fullscreen for some reason...

Now when I downloaded Fish Face, I didn't actually know much about it, deciding to research it after playing it. It wasn't until this stage did I discover that Fish Face was another entry into "Gamma 4", the same competition that previous reviewee "The Night Balloonist" was entered into. It seems the one criteria of this competition is to make a game that was controlled entirely using one button. This is where the similarities of the two games end, however, Teknopants' "Fish Face" taking on a much more simplistic, arcade style and functionality. You control a fish-man thing - mostly fish - and swim through treacherous waters, collecting rings as you go. In this game, the only button you use is the Down key, using the programmed buoyancy to jump ledges, collect in-air rings and overall, survive the Thwomp-a-likes and other Mario-style enemies.

For me, this game got off to a very bad start, as it fails to tell you what to do in it's very simple menu. Dictating "Press Button", the game waits for you to work the keyboard, running up and down the keys to find the elusive "button" like Tom chasing Jerry with the hammers inside a piano. I found the button, eventually, now unsure at which one it was. Then I managed to choose the difficulty level in a similar way. It was only in-game did I figure out I was to work this game with Down. Okay, now I could begin, begrudging the afore-downloaded caption "casual" attached to this game.

The game itself however, works very well. It tags itself with a super casual 2D Sega Mega Drive style, down to the music and graphics and colour palette. As I sailed through the murky waters with my horrific, gurning fish-man, I was immediately reminded of an old favourite of mine, Ecco the Dolphin. Down to the heavy buoyancy and fun ring collecting goal, it felt as much like Ecco as it did the more obvious influences of the Mega Drive like Sonic. the gameplay was fun, rewarding and very responsive within a challenging battle between fish and player, it is a tough game after all.

The music is standard, not a lot to say outside of the classic stylings. Same for the art. Although, a special mention goes out to the character design. On the captions for this game from the site I downloaded it from, one of the more prominent, bold taglines was "Cute". "Cute"? A fish with the face of a human is not cute. It's as creepy as the idea of any other animal with the face of a human. Kind of like the Eye-Pet. *shudder*.

If you're interested, check it out on his official site/blog below. I recommend giving the site a look as he has a plethora of quirky little titles listed.

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