Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 3GS
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Game Controls Rating:
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At first glace, Glowfish looked a whole lot like a recent game that's released on other platforms named The Undergarden. That was a very pretty looking game, and Glowfish looked dangerously similar. But as soon as I started playing, I realised that despite its aesthetic similarities it's actually something entirely different from a gameplay perspective - different from anything I've played before, mixing that old style platforming rule of "collect so many things to progress," with much newer ideas from games such as Osmos.
The player takes control of Glowfish, a rather cute looking character; he's been tasked with saving the underwater world after the evil Dr. Urchin has stolen his sea-dwelling buddies and, as would happen in any real side-scrolling game, his girlfriend. To do so, Glowfish will to overcome all the nasties that lurk through the game's 50 levels -- all of which are of a very reasonable length. Throughout these levels, Glowfish is controlled by a very responsive on-screen joystick (one of the best I've used on an iPhone game) to collect other, smaller glowing fish. Collecting and delivering a set number of these will allow for progression to the next part of a level, but these little fish are far more important than just collectables. They're actually the key to defeating enemies along the way.
As collected, these little fellows form a chain behind Glowfish. Pressing the on-screen shield icon will instruct them to form a protective circle around him, which can be used to eliminate enemies, but only if they're contained within a smaller circle. This is where my aforementioned reference to Osmos comes in. To shrink down the opponents to a size where they can be defeated, one must switch back to the trailing mode and run circles around the enemy until they're smaller than Glowfish's circle (which is determined by the number of little fish collected). It's a great little mechanic, which becomes all the more tricky as more enemies are encountered within closer proximity to one another. It's also an absolute joy to carry out, thanks to the game's very precise control scheme.
And the joy just keeps coming. Whether it's the controls, the visuals, or the perfectly fitting ambient soundscape, Glowfish is filled with enjoyment. Enjoyment that will last a long time with the many, long levels -- accompanied by a very nice curve of difficulty and the ability to upgradable 'Glow Chums' who will help along the journey. Simply put, MuboJumbo Games have exceeded themselves with this one. After delivering many great games for the platform already, Glowfish blows them out of the water. It's one of the most well-designed iPhone games I've played, in every aspect. I'm shocked that it only costs $0.99, at which price it's an absolute steal!