Polar Fishing is a block sliding puzzle game where you move blocks into different rows and try to match 3 or more of the same images in a row to capture the little yellow fish at the bottom of the screen. Get all the fish and you win. Your opponent will disrupt your combinations by sliding his own blocks into the rows and you have to manage the images to score the win. Polar Fishing is the first game by Reversity Studios and is available for $0.99 (for a limited time) on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
It has been hot these days in California, so Polar Fishing is a welcome splash of arctic water. You play against an opponent, though the game’s CPU, Wi-Fi, or through single iDevice multiplayer. There is a deceptive amount of depth to this game. There are 7 different images on each block. You have to match these images, so you slide your pile of blocks into specific rows. You cannot slide vertically, so you can only slide the blocks in one direction depending on what side of the screen you play on. Once you move a block out of the set 5×5 grid, it will be erased.
The game is played through what is essentially a tug-of-war for different image combinations. You can score multiple matches through pure luck and pick up more fish. The gameplay shines when you nudge out a carefully placed strategy of your opponent and you land your own in one move and your opponent loses 1, possibly 2 fish in a single turn.
The graphics are colorful and well designed. The blocks have colorful icecream, fish, snowflakes, snowmen, and blue clouds, each with good design and it all really fits together in terms of art direction. The music is oddly serious. It almost feels like I’m about to go to war against cold fish on the title screen and in game, it still has a tense feeling to the soundtrack. Sound effects, however, are sillier and match the art style more cohesively.
the speed of the game can be improved. It takes a full second to transition between every step in the game. After sliding a block, it takes a full second for the block you just slid to be replaced, it takes a full second for the game to register the matching of 3 or more images. It takes a second for the blocks to be replaced, another to wait for the fish to swim to the other side, then another to register if there is another matching set. Some rounds go faster, but on average, it feels slow and I was tapping on the screen to try to speed it up.
The hand-drawn appearance and the oddly contrasting music all create this really wonderful combination. My patience gets the better of me however, so I really hope that the speed of the game doubles or even triples. I would love to see some more background images, maybe different block images or different fish to swap around. Polar Fishing is a good game and a really excellent start for Reversity Studios.
Here is a video demo of the Polar Fishing app on the iPhone
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