Windows Phone Reviews - MonstaFish
The latest addition to the Windows Phone Marketplace is MonstaFish, another game falling into the new low starting price range of $0.99. The game is brought to you by IronSun Studios who you may recognize as the studio that gave us Battlewagon and IonBall EX. Is this casual game worth your money or your time? Let's find out.
To start out the game has 4 different game modes to play (5 if you want to count the fish tank), and although all modes obviously deal with the MonstaFish, there is some variance between them. In the namesake mode (MonstaFish), a giant octopus shoots out small bubbles, which you have to combine into larger bubbles by flicking them together, then tap the bubbles near the MonstaFish enemies to kill them. If the MonstaFish are on the screen too long your radiation meter will continue to rise until it breaks. You have a total of three lives in this mode and although I played for a while I never seemed to earn additional lives. There are goldfish bonuses (goldfish trapped in bubbles which you can pop) in this mode that can either clear the screen of fish, or give you a multiplier. The free swimming goldfish can be hit just like the MonstaFish, however these will lower your radiation levels. New fish are introduced as you climb in levels, and not surprisingly they get tougher. I can't say there is a max level for sure, I was in the upper 40s before I finally died.
In Time Attack mode, you try to survive for 3:00 minutes while numerous fish float across the screen horizontally. If they escape past the screen, that is when you receive the radiation, instead of while they are on the screen. In this mode there is a certain poison MonstaFish you actually DON'T want to shoot, or you will receive a large radiation whallop to your meter. There are no bubbles to deal with, anytime you tap you automatically make a bubble to kill the fish, its all about fast fingers in this mode. There are goldfish bonuses in this level, however trying to survive this mode for 3 minutes without the bonuses is probably the most difficult achievement in the game (and not that terribly hard to boot).
Fish Hunt is a mode similar to Time Attack in that the fish swim across the screen and you don't want them to make it across. However there are only two bubbles on the screen, so you have to wait for the fish to swim into or near one of these bubbles. Not terribly hard at first but when you may need to hit both bubbles at once (and the bubbles start moving) can be a bit challenging.
My favorite mode (if for nothing else just being different) was Fish Hook mode. This mode utilizes the tilt sensing feature of the game and you use this to drop a hook down to the goldfish on the bottom and try to return them to the surface. Stopping you are rows of MonstaFish swimming in lines. Each of these lines have a pattern and they continuously repeat, so usually you can figure out how to get the fish to safety without too much difficulty. The best way I can describe the way the fish move is similar to a Frogger type game - trying to cross the street. Each goldfish can take a varied number of hits from the MonstaFish before the bubble breaks and you don't have to save every fish in the level.
The Fish Hook game mode. Think Crane game meets Frogger.
The last "mode" of the game is just a super-casual fish tank simulation. Basically you start out with one fish and need to do three things in this entire mode. First you must feed the fish to keep it happy, which is done by tapping the screen where you want to drop food. Second you must keep the tank free of radiation (I mean you brought this upon yourself by keeping radioactive fish in your tank), this is accomplished by basically wiping the screen. Last you must keep your tank free of snails, which can be removed by making a swipe motion on your screen near them. Your reward in this mode? More MonstaFish, and lastly a goldfish.
Bottom Line: I personally enjoyed this game a lot, found the modes to be varied, and saw decent replay potential in this game. Although cost in theory shouldn't make a difference in a game's review, let's face it, for a dollar this is a great value game: 9/10.
I will add a caveat that based on various other reviews I have seen, some people don't enjoy the game at all, and mostly state that it is boring. It is a casual game, and I reviewed it as such, if you are looking for a super challenging or in depth game, obviously this one isn't for you.
Pretty darn easy completion for those out there interested. The only truly "hard" achievement was mentioned above for surviving Time Attack for 3 minutes without using any goldfish. This does take several tries, but once you get the hang of things, its not too bad. There is also a time consuming achievement for getting the goldfish in your fish tank. This is the last fish you can get and to get through the entire "mode" takes about 1.5-2 hours. Its not hard, just a bit boring. All the remaining achievements are easy and in my opinion relatively fun to get.