Developer: Disney
Price: Free
Version: 1.2.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★☆☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Who doesn’t love the adorable clownfish known as Nemo? He’s quirky, fun-loving and perhaps one of the most famous movie fish. Finding Nemo is my all- favorite Pixar movie, so it was quite exciting to check out this freemium title.

Nemo’s Reef is a builder game. Instead of creating rooms or building airports, players are tasked with helping Nemo and his dad build an awesome coral reef to impress his classmates. Not only is the coral reef about looks; it also serves the purpose of housing Nemo’s friends.

Nemo and his dad teach players how to build reefs through text dialogue. The key to growing an impressive reef is to collect plenty of algae. The algae is used to help the plants grow, and it is harvested from the plant life that already exists on the reef. Placing plants and decorations on the reef attracts over 50 different types of exotic fish. There are many that are rare and mysterious, which helps to keep the game interesting.

Planting seeds and growing plants earns players sand dollars and it provides them with the chance to level up. The catch is that there’s a lot of waiting involved. Players must sit back and wait for the algae to be ready to harvest as well as for the plants to grow. There are pearls that help to speed things up, but they are rare so gamers who are impatient will ultimately resort to in-app purchases. Waiting can get kind of boring so there are side missions to complete like planting mysterious seeds and visiting friends’ reefs to help keep players interested.

Aside from building reefs, there’s really not much in this game that players haven’t already seen. It could use some mini-games or Game Center achievements to help increase the replay value. Also, adding actual voice dialogue wouldn’t hurt either.

While Nemo’s Reef  may not be revolutionary, it’s hard to ignore the eye popping graphics and the familiar character appearances like Dory and Marlin. It’s not exactly perfect, but it’s not really Disney’s best release either. Gamers who are fans of the movie or those who love freemium builders won’t want to pass up on exploring this title, but others may find themselves passing it up and swimming on to something a little more exciting.

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