iOS Board Games

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Review: Hey, That's My Fish!

Brad Cummings
United States
Connecticut
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The Stats:
Compatibility: iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch (and Android)
Current Price: $4.99
Developer/Publisher: Fantasy Flight Publishing
Version: 1.0.2
Size: 30.9 MB
Multiplayer: Pass and Play
AI: Yes. Varying difficulty
Itunes link:http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hey-thats-my-fish-hd/id432427...


The Good:
Fantastic art and graphic design.
Great for tablet play.
Achievements to keep you playing and to change the way you play.
The Bad:
Lack of online leader boards and achievements.
AI may be too easy.

Summary:
Hey, That’s My Fish! (HTMF!) is an excellent board game app. It has a polished design that is rarely seen, and can appeal to children but does not over do it with the animations as some apps do. It is one of the most fun apps I have played in a long while.

Gameplay:
Hey, That’s My Fish! is a popular abstract game that combines a fun premise with strategic game play. It is a game that can be enjoyed by a casual audience but also has that deeper level that will attract the gamer audience.

In HTMF! players place penguins of their color on a board made of tiles that look like glaciers. Each tile has a different number of fish on it, ranging from 1 to 3. Players take turns moving one of their penguins as far as they want in any one direction. They then score points based on the number of fish on the tile they just vacated. That tile is then removed. So as the game progresses penguins will be trapped and unable to move, when this happens that penguin is removed. After all penguins have been removed, the player who has scored the most points wins.

The game includes several different maps ranging from a rectangle to a circle that really limits your movement. These changes really increase the challenge and re-playability.

Implementation:
HTMF! has one of the highest levels of polish I have ever seen in an app. It is not that it contains certain elements that I prefer, it is just that all the elements work together and are well thought out. This is to be expected from a large publisher like Fantasy Flight Games, but it makes me no less impressed, and I hope that this trend continues in the future.

The graphic design of HTMF! is very nicely done. The animations are funny as your penguins waddle from tile to tile and react when another penguin blocks them. I giggled the first time a tile dissolved with a penguin on it and an orca burst from the water to feast. Each color of penguins wears a unique item of clothing giving which is much more interesting that just assigning colors. The menus are easy to navigate and the options are easily accessible. I have to say that finding tutorial could be a little easier, it is represented by an “i” icon that could stand for info, and so I had some initial confusion as to where the tutorial was. I really think FFG went above an beyond creating an immersive experience, even the achievement feature different unique icons for each one. It is incredibly polished.

The user interface is clear and simple to use. The menus are simple and easy to navigate. Setting up a game take seconds and it is very clear to pick the number of players, AI or human, their difficulty, and the map. There seems to be no clunkiness at all in this whole interface. Gameplay controls are very smooth. When you select one of your penguins it highlights all of your possible moves. Even on the small screen of the iphone, the game has only misread where I wanted to go twice in the many games I have played. Another great feature is that although the game features many animations that happen simultaneously, so you don’t have to wait for animations to happen before you can make your moves, simply put I can be moving away while my buddies become orca food.

The game is very playable on a single ipad and although it lacks that tactile feeling it is a great substitute. Because the game has no hidden information it makes it a great candidate for this type of play.

My one fear with HTMF! is longevity. After a few plays I was beating the Hard computer consistently. Of course this was with 4 players. There are plenty of player options to try as well as new maps that get unlocked with each achievement. The achievements themselves offer incentive to keep playing as well, some are straightforward like “Win 20 games against 3 AI opponents” while other require serious thought like “Win a game against 3 AI opponents using no 3 fish tiles.” I have to admit that the desire to complete ahcievements has kept me coming back for more. Despite my qualms about longevity, I do not feel online multiplayer is the answer. This game is so simplistic and quick that I feel online multiplayer may throw off its rhythm. I do think that a leader board as well as increased numbers of achievements that you can compare with your friends may add a spirit of competition to the game.

Conclusion:
I am not one to blow smoke or give praise where it is not due, and I don’t fear FFG (even though they do make one great LOTR LCG), but I have to say that Hey, That’s My Fish! is one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences I have had on iOS. It captures a simple, strategic game in a package that is attractive and approachable.

Rating: 4/4 One of the Best
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Subscribe sub options Wed May 18, 2011 4:00 pm
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