Planet Fish is a typical aquarium game, but with futuristic submarines
Part aquarium simulation, part submarine fish hunting arcade game, Planet Fish is an interesting beast. It merges two distincly different styles of gameplay in way that makes sense, letting you venture out to the unknown depths to capture new fish for you to raise and sell in your aquarium. Neither of these game types is particularly innovative on their own, but together they form something much more engaging than the sum of its parts.
Looking after your tank and raising fish is relatively basic. You’ll feed fish when they’re hungry by tapping on the screen, and every so often you’ll need to clean gunk off of the glass with a swipe of your finger. The fish mature over time, and eventually they’ll reach a peak maturity point at which time you can sell them for maximum profits. You can expand your tank to hold more fish and even buy a second one. You can also, of course, buy decorations, but these are relatively drab and a large percentage require premium currency.
So how do you get these fish? By exploring the oceans in a futuristic, bubble shooting submarine, obviously. There is a large number of maps in Planet Fish, which you can unlock and purchase as you progress. And each one features a variety of fishing spots that you can visit once every few hours. There are even day and night time modes for an extra dash of variety.
Actually catching fish is sort of like a arcade style mini-game. You can move your sub across the top of the screen by tilting, and fire out bubbles to collect fish with a tap. You have a limited amount of bubbles in each level so each shot counts. Positioning and timing are important, as many of the fish are located in tricky spots, and there are even obstacles like jellyfish and spiky blowfish to get in your way. What’s especially great about the structure of the game is that you don’t have to worry about energy at all. You can play any of the levels you’ve unlocked at any time, though you’ll have to wait a few hours in order to replay them, unless you want to spend a few rubies.
These two portions of the game work well together, but even still, they’re a little too simple. More decoration options would’ve been nice in the aquarium mode, while the fishing mode fails to introduce new gameplay tweaks as you progress. Planet Fish is certainly fun, but it’s hard not to wish there was more to it. It’s also a bit lacking when it comes to the visual presentation, especially with regards to the fish, who are so small it’s often difficult to tell one type from the next. There is, however, a good visual variety when it comes to the locations you’ll be exploring.
It’s still a cut above most aquarium games, though. Taking care of your tank is as relaxing as ever, but the fact that you actually have to do some work to catch your fish, instead of simply buying them, adds a whole new dimension. With a few updates and some additional game mechanics, Planet Fish could be something really special. But even without that, it’s definitely an enjoyable underwater experience.