Glowfish for iOSPlatform: iPhone/iPod
Glowfish, provided to me by MumboJumbo, is a gorgeous, underwater exploration game for the iOS. It somehow manages to be relaxing yet challenging at the same time. On a platform filled with a wide-range of games, Glowfish is a real gem. The game tasks you with rescuing your girlfriend, Coralline, from the evil Dr. You'll set off to reunite with her, finding friends along the way to help.
The atmosphere in Glowfish is great, and the game provides a wonderful sense of exploration. Branching levels give you choices, yet the game never seems so big as to be daunting. The map updates as you see more of the level, also showing areas that appear accessible on the map yet blocked in the level. This means there's a secret area to explore! You'll also notice glowing spots at the edge of the screen indicating friends in those directions. You might not be able to go directly to them, but knowing that they're in those directions helps to achieve that sense of exploration. Even if you don't need to go everywhere to complete a level, there could be coins and more friends! It helps that Glowfish is absolutely gorgeous with rich, vibrant colors combined with dark, underwater environments. Luckily the music and sound effects are also great.
There's more to Glowfish than just exploring. Levels are filled with enemies waiting to attack you. To defeat them, you'll need some friends. As you find your friends, they'll follow behind you in a line. Circling an enemy with friends trailing you will cause them to attack the enemy. The more friends you have, the stronger your attack will be. On the other hand, the larger the enemy, the more attacks it can take. When an enemy is defeated, it'll leave behind another ally with which to increase your strength. Of course there are also boss fights and even races to complete. You'll also find special allies called Glow Chums to help you. Only one can be out at a time, but you'll slowly unlock various Glow Chums throughout the game, each providing a different bonus. You can also spend the coins you've discovered on upgrading your Glow Chums.
Besides circling enemies with your trail of friends, there is one other way to attack. You can make your friends orbit you, creating a large shield around you. If you're big enough in comparison to the enemy, you can now just ram them to defeat them, although they will try to run! Enemies will have a red bubble around them if they're too large and a blue bubble if you can safely defeat them by ramming them. This all creates a wonderful sense of scale and strategy to the game. You'll need to go after the smaller enemies first in order to grow large and strong enough to take on the more powerful enemies.
Somehow, almost magically, Glowfish is relaxing yet can still be challenging. Sometimes I get frustrated with games, but I didn't feel that way with Glowfish. Even when I die, I am never sent too far back, and the wonderful atmosphere and style keeps me interested and enjoying the game. Glowfish is beautiful and, more importantly, requires strategy to tackle the stronger enemies. Even while requiring some thought, Glowfish can easily be understood by a new gamer, providing a lot of fun for everyone. I highly recommend MumboJumbo's Glowfish, available for $2.99 on the App Store right now!