Day 340: Fish Listening to Radio

Posted: 2011/10/17 in Indie Games

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game (XBLIG) every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and are not well represented in the top 50 lists on the Xbox Dashboard. Today is day #340, and today’s game is “”.

Mass Deduction’s streak of “out there” names continues for a third day, with “PewPewPewPewPewPewPewPewPew” and “The Most Addicting Sheep Game” being followed up by today’s game, “Fish Listening to Radio”.

“Fish Listening to Radio” is a decidedly multiplayer affair, with the only singleplayer on offer being similar to that you would find in an Unreal Tournament game (ie. not worth mentioning). But get 2-4 people playing simultaneously, and the game takes on new life. This is one of those games that forces you into a “Hobson’s Choice,” where you have two equally unappealing options, and that (in a multiplayer context) is the part I found about it that was the most interesting and entertaining.

First, from the developer (Popcannibal):

“Compete with everyone to get the worms, but cooperate to protect the radio. Fish Listening to Radio features a state-of-the-art ukulele sound track and super keen worm eating action. Color the pond as you rack up points and show the other players who’s king fish.”

The gameplay is simple. Eat the worms on the fishing hooks on the way down, but make sure to time it right so that you don’t get caught when they start going up. Watch for the starfish that periodically appears at the bottom of the screen as it’s worth some serious points. Try to outscore your opponents.

The entire time, the fish are listening to a boombox at the bottom of the river/lake/sea/whatever-it-is that they live in. But fishing hooks can, and will, catch the radio. Once it does, the game is over and whomever is in the lead at that point wins. The player(s) not in the lead find themselves in the unfortunate position of ignoring it (and losing) or intervening (and living to compete another day).

But which of the up to four players should do so? The player furthest away from winning? Maybe not because they are the least likely to win, and perhaps they would prefer everyone start over from 0. The person closest to winning? Maybe, but they’re likeliest to pull ahead if the game continues and can ill afford to lose focus on increasing their score. The person in-between them perhaps? Maybe, if they can be talked into it.

Second-guessing the other players, and debating with them who should work to save the radio and keep the game going, is almost more interesting than the game itself. That alone made it worth my 80 Microsoft Points. It’s a simple pick-up-and-play game enjoyable by all ages, with a unique art style that works well for it. It’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you have people to play local multiplayer with it’s definitely worth a free trial.

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