Mobfish: Hunter: a great game with a fishy undercurrent

Iain Garner

I don’t know how but the wizards at Malaysia-based Appxplore have done it again! Last month I reviewed the company’s excellent game Caveboy Escape, which I found both brilliant and charming. Now I find myself in the awkward situation of praising them again. I’m British, and an abundance of praise is against my very nature. Now they have released Mobfish: Hunter, another excellent game for both Androidand iOS

(See: Caveboy Escape review: charming, cute and time-devouring)

It’s difficult to say anything bad about a game like Mobfish: Hunter, which manages to be both really weird and really simple. Let me start with single sentence: you play this game as a cyborg fisherman’s futuristic grenade. We are never sure why this man feels the need to massacre fish, or why people are always requesting he commit fish genocide.

mobfish

Maybe half the population was wiped out by bad sushi? Who knows; it’s a mystery, and once you get over the copious environmental damage you’re doing, Mobfish: Hunter becomes a brilliant game.

So pretty

Did you know it’s really pretty under the sea? People had mentioned it before, but Mobfish: Hunter convinced me. I love the art in this game. The fisherman looks awesome, with his robotic components and his enthusiastic, fish-killing grin. The fish also look great, whether they are cute little goldfish or large, creepy fish that could take Cthulhu on in a tentacle-off.

Well don't you all look murderable!

Well don’t you all look murderable!

Each fish has its own coloring and facial features. Some of them look so cute I feel a momentary pang of guilt before I murder their entire fishy family. Some look so hideous I know I’m doing the world a favor!

One of my favourite things is how the background darkens the deeper under the ocean you go. It’s a simple mechanic, but it works so well and letting you feel how far you’re getting and how deep you are. It’s simple it’s subtle and it’s brilliant, just like most things in this game.

So how does it work?

It’s a simple concept: the fisherman throws his grenade into the sea and you control the grenade by tilting your device. You try and get the grenade as deep as possible dodging all the fish until you reach your maximum depth. Once your reach that depth, or hit a fish, you grenade begins ascending and you must murder as many of the fish as you can on your way up.

Standard Grenade

Grenade goes down…

It’s such a simple idea that I can’t believe I have never seen it before. It is so satisfying to pilot your grenade through a particularly difficult section, dodging dozens of fish because you know in a minute you will be returning to exact your vengeance.

spike grenade

…Fish killing weapon of mass destruction come up

Going for the high score

If you want to get the highest score you are going to need to focus and feel the fishy force. It takes more than random movements to massacre fish effectively. On your way down you should be looking for rare fish. If you see something you haven’t seen before, make sure you kill it on your way up.

You also need to make sure that you are chaining your combinations together. Get a combinations of twenty in a row and your score triples, thirty and it quadruples. I assume the higher combos also net high rewards; I wouldn’t know because I never got one!

245!

It’s a challenging game and it will definitely push you to do better. If you aren’t particularly good at these types of game then IAP is going to be a necessity. It was for me.

What can I buy?

There’s loads of stuff to buy: the standard grenade just returns to the fisherman and requires you to steer it into every fish you kill. Other grenades do things like fire needles in every direction or surround themselves in spinning blades, making it way easy to get those all important combos.

Ohhhh pretty things

So many choices!

You can also buy utilities that allow your grenades to dive deeper into the mysterious depths of the ocean. It’s all good stuff and it’s all stuff your going to need if you want to keep being able to buy more stuff. Which is, of course, the point of the game. New stuff and high scores. Just like life, really!

I don't understand how it works. but I want it!

I don’t understand how it works. but I want it!

Alas, there’s something a bit fishy here.

Do you smell that, there’s something not so pleasant wafting out of my iPad. Oh yes, it’s my old friend, the stamina system. You know this guy, he’s the ghost at the feast, the Buzz Killington of gaming and the turd in the foot spar. He’s that utter tool who says “I’m sorry you have enjoyed this game to much today and must stop playing…unless you give me money.”

Why don't you go fuck yourself?

Why don’t you go fuck yourself?

Nobody likes this guy, so can we please stop inviting him to hang out with us? Seriously, he’s a dick.

(See: If you put a stamina system in your game, I hate you)

That’s not the only problem, though, the biggest problem is that Mobfish: Hunter is very poorly paced. The game simply takes too long to progress through. Now, I understand that this time the developer has gone for quality over quantity, which in an IAP-driven game is always a risky business. Mobfish: Hunter only has four distinct stages which is just too few for a game that relies on repetitive playing to make money. Obviously they don’t want us finishing the game anytime soon, because that’s their source of revenue gone. However, there is something wrong when I have been playing solidly for several days and still haven’t got beyond the first level!

It’s not that I’m terrible, it’s just bad pacing. It takes too long to rank up, and so the other levels simply never seem to be available. I suspect that this would not happen were it not for the stamina system which interrupts you every time you finally get into the flow. It’s frustrating when the nature of the game is defeating you, rather than the game itself.

You can never afford to buy anything

You can never afford to buy anything

If I am not good at a game, let me practice! Don’t tell me to piss off and come back in twenty minutes. Who do you think you are, Mobfish: Hunter? My mum?

Don’t let that put you off.

Despite those two complaints I am loving Mobfish:Hunter and will be playing on buses and trains for the foreseeable future. It’s simple but challenging. And it has a cyborg fisherman. Did I mention I think the cyborg fisherman is cool? Because he is.

So cool!

So cool!

Mobfish is available to download for Android here and iOS here.

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