(XBLIG, 80 points / $1.00)
Back at the beginning of 2008, Farbs (Captain Forever) released Fishie Fishie, a fun little freeware one-switch with a pretty rad hook: you control a fish with a hole in his stomach who constantly rotates counter-clockwise, but when you hold a button (any button, really), the fish begins rotating the opposite direction. Tap repeatedly to swim forward, and collect all the smaller fish on each stage before you starve to death. The game was fast, light and funny, and when Farbs announced that it was coming to Xbox Live Indie Games, it sounded like a good fit.
It turns out, it is, but not quite for the reasons you’d expect. Fishie Fishie Fifty is not a port of the freeware game, or even a sequel – if anything, it’s a companion piece. Where the original Fishie was a single-player-only game, Fifty is a multiplayer-only affair. When playing alone, the game throws three AI-controlled fish at you, but it’s when you have other human players in the room that the game really shines.
The titular Fifty comes from the fact that you can play the game with as many as 52 players locally. You read that right: each input on the 360 controller represents a different fish, so theoretically, you could have thirteen players playing per controller. Most people, though, will (and should) play the game with maybe two or four participants, and in those settings, it’s extremely fun. It’s pretty frenetic and crazy, and can get pretty competitive if your group gets into it.
However, a lot more than just the original game’s single-player campaign has been been stripped away for the XBLIG version. The combo system, high score tracking, threat of starvation and dark humor of the freeware release are all absent from Fifty. Luckily, though, players coming into Fishie Fishie Fifty without knowledge of the original won’t feel like anything is missing, because that’s not the game this is supposed to be.
It feels like Farbs’ goal with Fishie Fishie Fifty was to make a streamlined (and multiplayer) version of the original game. The thing is, Fishie Fishie was a dangerously shallow game to begin with, so the final product here ends up feeling a little disposable. But you know what? It’s a one-dollar Xbox Live Indie Game release. It kind of gets to be.
Get the demo for Fishie Fishie Fifty right here: http://marketplace.xbox.com/en-US/games/media/66acd000-77fe-1000-9115-d80258550557/?bt=0&sb=1&mt=32&gu=66acd000-77fe-1000-9115-d80258550557&p=1&of=0