GlowFish

GlowFish

Simply glowing!

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Game Category: Casual – Action, Maze, Kids
Developer / Distributor: Mumbo Jumbo
Release Date: 30 Sep 2011
Rating: ESRB – Everyone 10+

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[Editor: Another day, another maze game… this time it’s GlowFish, an excellent gem of an underwater game.] 

Just listening to the chorus from “Under the Sea” on the radio got me digging out this wonderful maze game that I had in my game inventory for a few months now. The game is called GlowFish and it comes from Mumbo Jumbo – the people who give you Premium Casual Games (and they’re usually spot on when it comes to “Premium”).

Although there’s no mermaid in GlowFish, you get to control something that looks to me like a little adorable puppy-shaped fish, you know – the kind of puppy with oversized floppy ears and two large innocent looking eyes.

Simply glowing with fun

You take on the role of GlowFish who lives in the Briny Depths with his sweet Coralline. You don’t really know for certain what kind of creature is GlowFish and his lady friend, but they make a great underwater pair. One day, the big bad Mr. Urchin comes along and sends his baddies to kidnap Coralline and all of GlowFish’s friends. It’s up to our little spunky hero to come to the rescue of his damsel in distress and to free his friends.

GlowFish will begin his quest with information boxes that explains all the important game play basics. You had best pay attention, since your objective lies at the end of 5 stages comprising 10 levels, with each level more difficult than the last. Now, don’t you swim away thinking these levels are easy and can be completed in only a few scant minutes.

Pay attention as new game play mechanics will be introduced
throughout the game

Basic game play has you guiding GlowFish with your keyboard, mouse, or gamepad through an underwater maze trying to rescue all his friends and finding the exit whirlpool. You have a map to guide you around the maze, so it’s best you use it often as some of the later levels are really huge!

While venturing through the labyrinth, you will encounter a snail-like structure (with a bright yellow roof) next to a pathway that is blocked by a steady stream of bubbles – see the screen shot below. To unlock the way onwards, you must bring a number of friends over to the structure; the number required is displayed in the centre of the structure itself.

Oops! I need one more friend to unlock the way forward

Your friends can sometimes be found swimming unharmed in the maze. Look out for a blue glow along the edge of the screen to find your friends. If you swim over any of your friends, they will start following you in a neat orderly queue behind your character. For your info, you will also notice a yellow glow along the edge of the screen – this represents gold coins (I’ll explain their use in a bit).

Unfortunately, most of your friends have been mutated into monsters by Dr. Urchin. Mutated monsters are represented as an underwater creature trapped within a red bubble. You have two ways to free your trapped friend and both require that you have friends already tailing GlowFish. [Tip: For obvious reasons, once a level begins immediately seek out any friend that has not yet mutated.]

The more friends you have, the more shots you will fire

For the first means of attack, you must head towards a target and swim around it. Your tailing friends will only start shooting at the target after you have circled it at least once. Each shot will weaken the beast and make it shrink in size. Once it’s too small, the bubble will burst and a friend is born from it.

The second form of attack you have is to get your friends to enter Orbit mode. With the space bar (or a simple left click of the mouse button), your friends will stop tailing and start orbiting you instead. In this mode, you can smash into mutated enemies that are smaller than you. Enemies that can be defeated are blue in color and scrambling to run away from you.

The mutated beasts in blue can be taken out

Not all beasts can be killed, there are enemies like the jelly fish, angler fish, clam, crab, and electric eel that are just immune to your attacks. In this case, GlowFish can get himself a little speed boost to escape encounters with them. Watch out though – your little friends can’t hang on when you’re moving so fast.

In some of the levels, you will get the opportunity to rescue Glow Chums. These are essentially special helpers that will tag along with GlowFish from a distance; each helper has unique abilities that will make life easier for you. You can use the gold you collect in the game to upgrade the ability of your Glow Chums. Do note that only one Glow Chum will accompany you in every level; but you are able to select a new chum when you reach any unlocked structure.

Darter is my favorite Glow Chum

While adventuring through the underwater realms, you will find all kinds of pick-ups to aid you in your quest:

  • There’s a yellow Super Glow globule that can be used to instantly lure nearby friends to you. I found these to be a time saver since I don’t have to chase down every last friend in the vicinity.
  • Green-colored Sticky Fruits can be used to slow down fast mutated enemies.
  • Yellow Fortune Fruits will make GlowFish temporarily invincible.
  • Purplish Super Nova Fruit will help to neutralize all enemies, and
  • Brown Propeller Fruit makes GlowFish swim with an extremely high burst of speed!
How fortunate!

As you can see from all the prior screen shots of Glow Fish, the graphics in the game is simply brilliant. Bright strong primary colors have been used throughout the levels, and background parallax effects really make it feel like you’re traveling through a different world. The addition of bubbles and other visual effects (like colored lighting and darkness) help to accentuate further the alien feel of the ocean deep.

The game’s interface is real easy on the player, it’s never cluttered and everything feels right in their  place. The use of colored markers on the edge of the window display is a brilliant idea to nudge the player in the right direction. It also makes it convenient for those who want to collect and rescue everything they can find in the level – thereby netting themselves four stars when the level score is tallied.

Shake, shake, shake…

The animation in GlowFish is very detailed and smooth. GlowFish and Chums really exhibit character, while the enemies are truly varied; you will find puffer fish, crabs, eukaryotic-creatures, squids, clams, and much more. The maze designs are well done and not overly complex, the addition of a scrollable map makes your task even more easier – there’s no way you could possibly  become lost. [Tip: In fact, if you look closely at the map, you will find the many Hidden Secret Areas in the game – and there are tons of Secret Areas to find!]

Music and sound in the game is very good. The music generally sounds surreal, lending a feel of the unknown to the game. There’s quite an array of sound effects, but I especially love the whirlpool sound at the end of every level as well as the cute little “Yippees!” you’ll hear as a friend is liberated from a mutated beast.

Trust me… you’ll need to use the map often!

Pros:

  • GlowFish is an incredible adventure that takes you through the alien world of the Ocean Deep in 50 levels. The choice of using an underwater theme is in itself an excellent idea!
  • The game play is suited for casual players who would like to try something more action oriented (as opposed to hidden object or time management games).
  • There are tons of friends waiting to be rescued in the game.
  • Controlling GlowFish is quite simple and not what you might expect… practice in the first stage and you’ll should get the hang of it.
There’s actually a sense of progress here…
  • If you persevere, you will unlock for yourself 8 Glow Chums who will make your life generally easier.
  • A mother lode of treasures await you in GlowFish. Don’t forget, collect as much gold as you can to upgrade the power abilities of your chums.
  • The graphics in GlowFish is truly captivating. All the colourful sprites really add up to make the underwater world come to life.
  • There are 25 achievements waiting to be unlocked.
Oh no… I’m sushi once again!

Cons:

  • There’s quite a handful of frustrating obstacle courses in the game that makes it quite difficult for the uninitiated. A lot of retrying will be required before you can forge ahead. (But in my opinion, the chance to see what lies ahead will be what keeps you coming back for more in GlowFish.)

[Editor: GlowFish is real fun but it’s challenge factor can be quite daunting beyond Stage 1; luckily there’s a way to enable cheats in-game. If I get enough comments here asking for it, then I will provide it for all to see.]

Finally, near the end of my journey!

The Verdict

9Amazing

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