I can’t consider Plenty of Fishies a single game, mostly because it offers three different modes (well, actually four) that work with different mechanics (you can consider it “3 games in 1”), so it would be a little collection instead…
Like I said, Plenty of Fishies offers four different modes:
- Adventure: You need to eat the most fish as quickly as possible, this can be done by eating fishes smaller than you in order to grow and eat bigger ones (which you will need to avoid early on).
There are five different levels, each with a specific rule that will be explained before you start the level. Basically, in the levels 1-4 you need to avoid a specific animal and the last one you need to beat in a boss fight.
This mode can be played alone or with friends, but the multiplayer mode has only five levels unlocked from the start. Due to a problem I will explain later, I’m not sure if a level selection screen appears on the single player mode.
- Flipply Fish: Basically, another Flappy Bird clone. While it’s playable, it’s hard and sometimes it offers impossible-to-beat moments, being quite broken just because the obstacles are pretty close each to other.
This can be also played alone or with company.
- Egg Survivor: Here, you will need to protect the eggs you are watching over. Since everyone wants to eat them, you can make them swim away or eat them before they eat your eggs (I suppose Mother Nature can be weird sometimes).
This is an arcade like game, where the more eggs you have the more points you get by eating fishes (there’s one you can’t eat.) This mode is only playable in single player.
- Egg Destroyer: It’s the multiplayer version of Egg Survivor, where it changes the gameplay mechanics: the player on the Gamepad controls the fish with the eggs and the others try to eat them.
This can sound a little unfair for the egg protecting player, but there’s a little help: being able to move through different tubes allowing to evade enemies, being safe on a extra room for a little while (you lose eggs if you stay for a longer time).
This also means the score system is different for everyone as well: the Gamepad player will get bonus points for avoiding others player, but while it’s on the safe room, the other players are the ones getting extra points.
The game ends once all the eggs are eaten, and the winner is the one with most points.
The controls are pretty the same for every mode; still, the Gamepad user will have his or her own screen. The other four players can use a Wii Remote alone, with a Nunchuk (for some reason it doesn’t appear on the manual), the Classic Controller, the Classic Controller Pro and the Pro Controller, so everything is allowed.
Plenty of Fishies has nice graphics considering it’s a HTML5 games including a much too simple interface, but from the moment you see the developer’s logo when you boot the game you will notice something you don’t like: lag. The performance is terrible, presenting a constant lagging experience with plenty of frame drops making the game barely playable. The soundtrack, on the other hand, is well done featuring nice melodies, but the sound effects could have been better.
There is good work on the presentation of the title, where the main flaw is actually the terrible frame rate and it’s such a shame, the interface is easy to use, a nice manual, plenty of controllers supported, online leaderboards for each mode in each difficulty including local multiplayer, off-TV mode and a few audio options.
I won’t say Plenty of Fishies is a bad game at all: excluding the Flappy Bird minigame, it brings an interesting gameplay mechanic that can be fun in short bursts, but there’s no fun when it’s constantly lagging with many frame skips that actually affect how you play.
I recommend to wait for the upcoming update before purchasing, unless you want to support the developer while you wait.
Note: An update is confirmed for early January, removing frame skips and giving a performance above the 30 fps. It will also bring Miiverse features.