MonstaFish Desura Review

MonstaFish is a casual tap based game that has you clicking or tapping bubbles to pop them in order to rid an aquarium of toxic fish. I’m not sure if its really an aquarium, but since its a game with a single screen and different backgrounds in each level, I’ll call it an aquarium. The more of these toxic fish that you have on screen, the higher the pollution in your tank increases. If it climbs too much, one of the three valves bursts and you lose a life.

The mechanics are simple, but there’s a little complexity to them. An octopus at the bottom of your screen releases three level 1 bubbles. Then you click and drag the bubbles to collide with one another. For every two bubbles that touch, they increase the size and the level of the bubbles. Once a bubble is level 2, they can be popped, which sends a wave of damage to hurt the fish. After a few hours to play, I’m still not sure if it does more damage to the fish the closer they are to the bubble itself.

When you pop one level 2 bubble, every bubble over level 1 pops, so it can have a screen clearing effect. A bubble can only get so big, before it stops growing. Along the way there are colored bubbles that will do double damage to the fish of the same color. Its a nice simple game that while I can’t recommend it for adults, its great for toddlers if you have a touch screen. Its easy to play, the visuals are nice and beautiful even if the fish are “monster fish” designed to be a blend of goofy  and mutant.

There’s a 1950s surfer vibe to what little soundtrack there is. There’s no actual background music in the game outside of the title theme and a few guitar riffs between levels. Its all just soothing, calming bubbles that you’d hear in an aquarium during the game.

There is a wide variety of fish in all sorts of shapes and colors. Some even have different intelligence. Certain red fish will divide into smaller fish, purple puffers will pop level 1 bubbles. Barrel fish that when they dissolve in the water, your pollution increases a lot. Other fish grow bigger over time, so you need to make them a priority. These toxic fish swim around, bump off of the top and bottom of the tank, but when they go out of one side, they come in the other.

Goldfish float up in bubbles, clicking on them gives you bonus points. Otherwise, they’re just floating around in the tank and you can’t do anything to them. I guess they’re just a distraction. The game didn’t really feel like it was about the points for me. you have a score, but there’s no real emphasis on it. There’s no reason, nor any high score.

I have run into quite a few game breaking issues. Twice I’ve run into fish that are just stuck and couldn’t be defeated. Other times, level 22 specifically the level won’t let me past. I’m pretty sure that there are no fish left, but its not sending me to level 23. I managed to have that error three times in a row and its discouraging each time. After the game has been out on PC almost 2 years, I would have thought that it would be fixed by now.

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Outside of the MonstaFish main mode, there’s time attack mode, which I’ve gotta say is useless. See how many fish you can get in the time limit. There are bonus gold fish to click, pollution reducers and things to slow down time. The only problem here is you only need to tap instead of combine two bubbles and then tap the bubble. By tap I mean click with a mouse for those not on a touch pad like I was. Since there’s no punishment for rapidly tapping, its just see how much you can tap in 3 minutes. Maybe the score is divided by how many times you tap? The game does keep track, but never tells you how it came up with your score. Its a flawed mode, that might be fun for toddlers.

Next up is fish hunt, where you don’t just shoot fish, you need to click the target in the center and drag it to the fish in order to shoot. This does make the game challenging, mostly for that control scheme. It would be a lot easier on a touch screen, but oh well. Its just a way to twist the time attack mode. Oh and every time you release to shoot a fish, the target starts at the center of the screen again. So its just testing your ability to click and drag… over and over. If you miss five fish, its game over. I can’t say this is fun, but its an extra mode to keep you in game.

Last, but not least, you have fish hook mode that has your mouse as a fish hook lowering it from the top of the screen at a boat to gold fish in bubbles at the bottom of the screen. Then on your way up, you need to avoid the lines of monstafish and slip the hook through the openings. Its really simple. Rescue X amount of gold fish and you move onto the next level. There’s a time limit since the monstafish are always toxic an polluting the water. You can always hook barrels that reduce the pollution.

As an arcade game, this should have had leader boards or at least a high score with initials. Otherwise, it just feels like a diversion. Its just not engaging or fun for long periods of time, the bottom line is this is just a dull game that maybe people can play to relax and mellow out. The game breaking bugs didn’t help my opinion of the game’s fun factor either. Luckily you can continue where you left off. Even if you lose all of your pressure valves (lives), you can just restart at that same level with your last life.

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