Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad Mini Retina
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A cursory glance at I Am Dolphin and you’re probably immediately going to think of Ecco the Dolphin. While that was a great game (and so very hard), I Am Dolphin isn’t quite like that. It’s more of a fighting game, despite how relaxed it might initially seem.
You work your way through a series of missions, each rewarding you with pearls that can then be put towards unlocking new missions and creatures. Unusually for a modern game, there’s a risk/reward system going on here because you can lose pearls if you fail at a mission. Fortunately once you get through the early stages pearls are often not too hard to come by, meaning being slightly punished actually keeps the game more balanced than it could have been otherwise.
Sometimes, you’ll be hunting down fairly harmless fish, but the bigger rewards come from picking on sharks and other more aggressive creatures. Given the variety of missions on hand, you’ll still feel in control of what you want to go after. The weaker fishes only need you to hit them once before being eaten up, while sharks require a few blows to succeed.
I Am Dolphin looks quite gorgeous in its simplicity, but it does a falter a bit with its controls. It’s going to take practice to master movement with the a virtual button for charging and sweeps of your finger dictating direction. It’s not quite as easy to learn as a virtual d-pad, for instance, but it looks more stylish. Also, sometimes the camera doesn’t quite keep up with the action as well as it could, making it tricky to plan ahead. It doesn’t ruin the fun but it is a slight niggle.
On the surface, I Am Dolphin seems like a game that should turn quite tedious but given its variety of missions and gentle yet structured play, it’s refreshingly entertaining. It builds up nicely, tempting you into playing for just a little longer. Being so different from other games really is a boon here.