#GDC 2013: Hands-on with Halfbrick's next big addictive game Fish Out Of Water!
By Jon Jordan 26 March 2013
Game Name: Fish Out Of Water! | Publisher: Halfbrick Studios | Format: iPhone, iPad | Genre: Arcade
Having come up with super fun and intuitive games that anyone can play with Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride, Australian developer Halfbrick is looking to make it three in a row with new title Fish Out Of Water!
Inspired by designer Luke Muscat's love of surfing, it's a fish throwing game that has you selecting three from six colourful fish characters and flicking them as far as you can over the ocean waves.
Each fish has different attributes in terms of how fast they go and how they bounce on the water, with your score worked out as the average distance and skips taken across your three throws.
This system came about as Muscat didn't want there to be a 'best' character to play, rather a well balanced selection.
Keeping to the sea theme, your overall score out of 10 is awarded to you by a collection of crab judges (!), each of which awards their points on a different style basis. For example, one judge is big on distance, while another only cares about the number of bounces.
In this way, Halfbrick hopes to combine the intuitive fun of throwing these fishes - you pick and flick them while tapping on the screen at the right time to fire up boosts to extend your distance - with the subtleties that come from mixing up the characters' attributes.
Another aspect - and this is where the surfing comes into play - is the weather.
Sun, rain, and wind will affect the sea conditions and hence affect your performance, and cleverly the weather is shared simultaneously and globally across all games of Fish Out Of Water!
This is important for the social aspects of the game. People can create / join high score leaderboards with friends and rivals, although you can only be on one leaderboard at a time to encourage players to really focus on getting high scores.
You shall have a fishy
Underpinning these mechanics is the level of high-quality presentation you'd expect from a Halfbrick game. The graphics are super cute and cool, the characters are funny and charming, while the music is smoothing and ambient.
"We want this is be a game that's a nice place to be," Muscat explains.
In our brief time with the game, we didn't get too far into the backstory, but apparently there is a plot behind the wacky characters and the crab judges too.
And it's being released soon.
Debuting for iPhone and iPad as a 69p / 99c Universal app (with in-app purchases) on April 18th, Fish Out Of Water! is expected to be released on other platforms at some stage, but there's no date on that as yet.
Check out our interview with designer Luke Muscat, and the official game trailer below.