Version Reviewed: 1.00
Device Reviewed On: iPad Air
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Ripple Munch depicts life in the middle of the food chain. We eat the little fish and desperately avoid the fish big enough to eat us. It’s all about knowing one’s place, so it’s appropriate then that the game’s quality is comfortably average.
In Ripple Munch, players guide a medium-sized orange fish swimming across the sea. The goal is to eat as many little fish as possible while avoiding the bigger enemies like crabs and jellyfish, which can take out the player with one touch. But instead of controlling the fish directly, players tap the water around it - sending out ripples to push it in different directions. This makes the controls oddly inverted: tapping beneath the fish pushes it up while tapping to its left moves it right. However, this scheme allows for quick and fairly precise movements along with the ability to just go with the flow of the momentum. Sometimes broader, bolder movements work better for snagging treasure chests or extra valuable golden fish.
Eat or be eaten, that’s Ripple Munch. Like a true arcade game, there’s nothing else beyond its endless score-attack mode. Also like a true arcade game, the screen becomes so crowded with enemies so quickly that many deaths feel ever-so-slightly cheap while still encouraging “just one more try.” It’s fun and addictive, but nothing especially new or memorable.
For as merely competent as the gameplay is though, Ripple Munch has a surprisingly stylish art direction. The expressive characters look and move as if they were animated plastic toys submerged in a transparent bathtub. The shiny gold fish in particular feel like rare variants of fast food kid’s meal prizes. Adding to the charming diorama effect are the various environmental elements that appear homemade, like the almost quilted texture on the foreground seaweeds. Completing the atmosphere are serene sound effects and background music.
Not every game gets to be a great white shark. Ripple Munch works because it’s satisfied being the minnow that it is.