Tropical Dream: Underwater Odyssey is a strategy/time management game that will take you to the depths of the ocean where you’ll try to beat the clock while snapping breathtaking underwater pictures and finding hidden treasures.
The game tells the story of Megan, a young woman who is stressed out by city life and decides to head to the sea to pursue her true passion of diving into deep tropical waters. Megan realizes she has quite the talent for deep sea photography, and learns that people will pay for her beautiful pictures and the antiques she finds on the ocean floor.
A beachside store is purchased and Megan starts to live her dream. You will help Megan take pictures during breathtaking underwater dives where you will encounter amazing sea creatures such as the clown fish, the Moorish Idol and many others among the spectacular deep sea scenery.
Tropical Dream consists of 75 virtual deep sea dives where you will submerge along with a camera, a limited supply of oxygen, and few well laid out goals. At the beginning of each level, you are given a summary of the goals of each dive. You will be required to take specific pictures, find hidden treasures, take pictures of an assigned point value, and meet an overall cumulative point score before the oxygen tank empties. The pictures are instantly assigned a point value multiplied by the number of fish in each picture. The more centered a subject is, the more points you will earn for that picture.
There are 15 upgrades earned throughout the game. You’ll start out with simple diving gear, and by upgrading over time to the best equipment money can offer, you will increase your speed and picture quality. Pictures are taken by pointing the lens over the desired subject, centering it, and clicking the mouse. After taken, there may be a few seconds of recovery time needed before you can take another picture so use your time efficiently.
During your dive, pictures of the fish you will need to photograph are displayed along the top of the screen along with your other goals. There are challenging night levels which require the use of a flashlight on your quest. There are several mini games that are played at various levels, and the timer will stop during the match 3 or "Memory" style match game which either unlocks hidden treasure or releases more fish into the scene for you to photograph.
You can visit Megan’s shop between levels to see the hidden treasures found and to view the photography wall that displays your highest scoring photograph from each level. The sea creatures exhibit different behaviors you will need to study in order to successfully photograph them. You may even find a few fish smiling at you in this challenging quest.
Tropical Dream is a great combination of strategy, time management and puzzle genres. It is very different from the usual strategy/time management fare and I was happy to have something new to try. The game at all times has breathtaking graphics, upbeat tropical music and serious challenge with each level.
I would have enjoyed seeing this game offered as a screen saver because the graphics are so beautiful. The levels become increasingly more difficult as you progress and I found myself having to study each sea creature’s behavior in order to get the difficult shots. I had to play some levels many times, but each time gave valuable practice for the next level. As the equipment was upgraded, it became more fun to photograph and I found myself improving at getting the desired picture.
Sometimes you will have to photograph one single fish and other times four or five at once. It is not easy when you have to get four or more different fish in one picture, find a hidden treasure, meet a point goal and finish it all before the oxygen runs out. If you do not meet your goals, you are sent to start all over again as every goal must be completed to progress to the next level.
Taking pictures of fast moving objects that run from you is not easy to do, but you will find yourself improving with practice and will have fun learning the behaviors of the different sea creatures. Tropical Dream: Underwater Odyssey is suitable for adults and children with good control over the mouse.