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Small Fry

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad

Heeeere fishy-fishy-fishy

Product: Small Fry | Publisher: Noodlecake Games | Format: iPhone | Genre: Arcade, Casual, Endless running | Players: 1 | Version: US | App version: 1.0
Small Fry iPhone, thumbnail 1
It's not often that a critic gets to compare a game with an Atari 2600 title without adding, "It's that bad."

Nevertheless, that's where we stand with Small Fry, an enjoyable mobile action game that brings back memories of 1983's Dolphin by Activision.

Fish are food, not friends

Small Fry is the story of a little fish in a big pond. The biggest you can imagine, actually. Fry is a citizen of the ocean, which is a hostile environment if your flesh is made of tender, flaky chunks that taste good with butter and pepper.

IAPs explained
Like many endless running games, Small Fry offers you the chance to buy and upgrade power-ups that give you an advantage in your runs. These can be bought using currency you find as you play ("clams"), though you also have the option to buy large denominations of clams with real-world currency.
Of particular note is a shark that tails Fry in hopes of grabbing him for supper.

Small Fry is an endless-running/swimming game. Fry begins each run in a calm ocean environment that quickly becomes dangerous. The shark finds him and gives chase, and sea creatures seem intent on getting in Fry's way and slowing him down long enough for the shark to end the game in a single gulp.

Flying fish

But even though the entire sea is out for his scales, Fry is not helpless. He can jump - and he's quite good at it. In fact, given enough speed and height, Fry can jump clear into space, where no shark can reach him.

In the peace of the upper stratosphere, Fry uses a water-filled bubble to float around asteroids and other hazards. If his bubble gets popped, he's sent tumbling back into the ocean. His space flight gives him a small vacation from the shark's pursuit, but the shark eventually finds him again as surely as a hound finds a fox.

And thus the frantic swimming, leaping, and space-travel cycle swings around again.

See you, space fish

Even if Small Fry doesn't remind you of Dolphin, it'll definitely remind you of Tiny Wings, another game where you push your screen to gain speed and release to fly. In other words, games like Small Fry have been done over and over.

However, there's something charming about this one. Its swoop-and-leap gameplay feels particularly rewarding thanks to the opportunity to escape your enemies by leaping into space, of all places.

Diving to the bottom of the ocean, torpedoing upwards, and arcing through the air is satisfying on its own, but elevating yourself into the stratosphere via a stairway of bubbles is something else entirely.

Best of all, if Fry manages to sail through space long enough to collect additional bubbles, he gains a rainbow trail that genuinely makes you feel like a fish-god for as long as it lasts. And if that doesn't charm you, just look at the way Fry holds his breath every time he leaps into the air. 

Even though Small Fry borrows bits from other games, it compiles those ideas to create an action-packed endless-runner that's an overall blast to play. 
Small Fry
Reviewer photo
Nadia Oxford | 28 January 2014
Small Fry combines frantic swimming with fishy flight to create a tasty action experience
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