If Greenpeace were ever going to endorse a game, it would be EcoFish. This new puzzler puts you in the shoes - or should that be fins - of a lovable fish who has taken it upon himself to clean up the polluted ocean. That’s it on the story front, not that it matters, because let’s be honest, you aren’t playing EcoFish because you want to experience a great narrative. It’s the gameplay that’s often the most crucial part of any puzzler. Yes, some exceptions exist, such as the Portal games: where the story is as good as, if not better than, the gameplay.
So how does the gameplay in EcoFish fare? Well, the short version is that it’s good. You have to fulfil the level objectives by eliminating parts of the polluted ocean. You may have to clear 75% of the pollution, kill a certain amount of enemies, or even kill a single specific enemy. Regardless of the objective, you’ll have to complete it using the same method: drawing lines. Your fish starts off on the screen’s ‘border’, which acts as a safe zone. Tapping anywhere on this border will make your fish move to that point. In order to clean the pollution you must draw a line across a section of the polluted screen. This line must start and end at the border. When your fish is not on the border you become prey to the various aquatic enemies, so timing and planning are key to survival.
There are 3 different game modes: Adventure, Time Trial and Treasure Hunt. All of the modes require you to complete levels to unlock stars, which subsequently unlock more levels. It’s similar to how the level system in Angry Birds operates. Adventure mode is the ‘story’ mode and features 60 levels. Time Trial mode features the same 60 levels as Adventure mode, but as the name suggests, you now have a limited amount of time to complete them in. After completing Adventure mode I found that the Time Trial mode was less than enticing, mainly because the levels, while good, aren’t interesting enough to make me want to complete them again. Thankfully the Treasure Hunt mode is a more worthwhile addition. It tasks you with collecting coins scattered around new levels, and this new gameplay feature changes how you approach the game. There are only 30 levels here, and in all honesty I would rather have no Time Trial mode and simply have more Treasure Hunt levels. Even with all of these game modes, EcoFish is still a short game and the lack of complexity means you won’t find much replay value here.
Visually the game looks just fine. The cartoon-style visuals are vibrant and crisp; it’s a style that fits the tone of EcoFish well. The same can be said of the music as well. It may not be anything to rave about, but it sounds clear and is actually bizarrely relaxing. I would imagine it to be similar to the music you would hear if you were to find yourself in an underwater elevator.
EcoFish is certainly a fun game. If you're after a quick-fire puzzler that can kill a bit of time then you could do a lot worse. The game costs £1.49 if you live in the UK and $1.99 if you are residing in the US. I feel these prices make the game slightly overpriced, as I have seen games that offer more at cheaper prices. That being said, it still isn’t going to break the bank. So, if you’re after some good old fashioned family friendly puzzling fun, then why not give EcoFish a try? After all, fish are friends, not food.
This review is based on the launch copy of EcoFish, provided by the developer and downloaded via the App Store.