Fishing Frenzy HD in Review – Cost, Not Fish, Causes The Frenzy

Fishing Frenzy HD for the iPad ($4.99) is another sterling example of a developer repackaging a game as “HD” and jacking up its price in hopes of grabbing mindless early adopter sales. Here, it’s a rewrap of a game which has been previously available in ad-supported and ad-free ($0.99) iPhone versions. Unlike the iPhone apps, Fishing Frenzy HD offers no OpenFeint support: you’re actually paying more money for less features and purdier graphics.

Feel free to discuss Fishing Frenzy HD in our forums.

The gameplay is simple: catch fish to earn points. This formula remains the same through 25 levels that introduce whales which raise your boat out of the water, electrical eels that stun you, and marlins that cut your fishing line, all of which prevent future casts for a few seconds. Different types of fish will earn you anywhere from 5 to 15 points and each level has you attempting to meet a point total within a certain amount of time.

The level difficulty seems split between very easy (stay in the middle of the pond and cast when the fish come near your boat) to remotely annoying (a larger point goal with more baddies added). This sudden shift occurs near level 20, which is slightly disconcerting when there are only 25 levels available. I reached level 19 on my first playthrough and finished level 25 on my second, with an app crash each time I neared level 20. With no difficulty settings or minigames offering replay value, an hour’s worth of game time for $4.99 is pretty low.

The HD graphics are average but feel unfinished. Your character remains motionless on a boat which can’t rock on non-existent waves and moving over the water offers no further animation. The backdrop which I had expected to change at certain intervals (levels 5, 10, 15, etc.) always remains the same and, taking a cue from games of yesteryear, there’s a recolored fish sprite that earns you a higher point value than its original cousin. The only animation for the water is a standard warping and reflection effect and the bubbles escaping from the sunken chest remain frozen in time. Point values are in a different font for no discernible reason.

The music and effects are another oddity: the first track I heard felt decidedly like a circus and another track yells “hillbilly”, which would have been fine if the game was selling a hick stereotype. There’s also a loud and jarring whisker-pulling effect for hooking a fish, which you’ll eventually get used to.

What Fishing Frenzy HD does improve upon is the control scheme: the iPhone version uses the accelerometer for both movement and casting and that combination contributes greatly to the game’s difficulty. Still, the touch controls for the iPad version could use some work. I felt the left button was too close to the bevel and the right button too close to the left: I often found myself moving in directions I didn’t intend or getting caught by a whale while I caressed black nothingness. I’d also get rid of the casting button entirely and just accept any right-hand tap. The game’s orientation is landscape mode, but after every level you need to hit a “next level” button which is just out of thumb reach. You can switch between Touch and Tilt control via the Options screen.

For $4.99, I can’t recommend Fishing Frenzy HD: I simply want far more in an app for that amount of money (more animation, longer or higher replay value, multiple game modes, more fish types, etc.). If you must give it a try, start with the ad-supported iPhone version, though the demonic tilt controls will likely sour the experience before you get any farther.

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App Summary
Title: Fishing Frenzy HDDeveloper: Tintash
Reviewed Ver:1.0.0Min OS Req:3.2
Price:$4.99App Size:39.5 MB
  • Better control scheme than the iPhone
  • OpenFeint missing
  • Far too easy
  • Far too expensive
  • No replay value

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