Hello again, welcome to this weeks Indie game Digest.
It came to thought last Wednesday that I hadn’t played a good old 8-bit platformer in a while. Not not just any old platformer but a spooky one, which contained something which enabled you to walk around and capture Ghost Fish maybe? Then folks, it you have been thinking the same then I’ve found the game for you.
Phantom Fishing is a bit like crossing the sport with Ghostbusters. Players have to rotate their proton stream clockwise or anticlockwise until it hooks into a phantom fish, causing the stream to reel it in automatically. The trouble starts when more than one fish is present.
It has been developed by David Durham Games which has been developing Flash browser based games spanning from 2006. The site could probably do with a revamp, as it is just a basic dark gray site background, displaying 12 windows, 3 in a row, all of which are a game in the collection. There is none of the mandatory ‘About’ or ‘Help’ buttons just the games, which is OK if on the back end of a link, or your just cruising through mindlessly, but if your looking to get any info about the games themselves, unfortunately its a bit of a gamble. But that’s OK. Maybe David Durham has things right? Maybe he wanted the Simple approach? Maybe the whole idea of just playing a new game whist not knowing what it is all about, like when I used to swap SNES games with old school friends and I went on word of mouth of just took a gamble, is the idea. Is there too much pre-play info now days? A mandatory expectation, like the need to see a preview or two? Is there any magic left anymore at all within gaming in general, of that just the opinion of a Noob like me?
Anyway I am massively digressing.
I came across this site by way of a popular search engine by simply typing in ‘Ghostbusters games online’, which this one came back quite near the top, and I’m glad I found it.
Its site boasts original games that are clean, fun and addictive. Phantom Fishing was my game of choice as I was looking for something spooky. In the game you can only use the stream capture once per stage, or else you scare the other fish away. Therefore you have to twist your stream carefully so that all the fish are close to but not touching the path. To make matters worse, there are some obstacles your stream has to avoid too.
Starting out in the first level ‘The hold’ a Blue underwater wooden cavern type place, the eerie sounds of the 8bit underwater and bubbles, with a scary mono- ‘wharl’ every 10 seconds made me feel nostalgic; playing old PC games as a kid past our bed time on the Windows 95 at my mates house, with the likes of Police, Space Quest and Alex the kid; the atmosphere is very similar here. Sometimes I like just the basics happening in games, nothing too stressful, it can be refreshing. The graphics are classic 8bit, as is the audio. Your character is an underwater ‘exterminator’, with a fish bowl over your head and air tanks on, you are guided by your own thoughts and remembering what your boss has told you earlier, all this coming up as text in a box which is nicely placed at the bottom left of the screen.
As you start to progress through the levels your job is to capture the ‘ghost fish’ by using your (what I’ve dubbed) ‘Proton tackle’, tapping ‘X’ releases the hook, the hook will automatically turn clockwise and holding X turns it anti-clockwise, this creates a challenging but addictive scenario and you must touch the phantom fish with the hook-end of it. You then automatically capture it. But it gets more challenging as the levels progress when more of these phantom fish appear in the same level. When you reach more than one ghostly fishy you have to artistically manoeuvre it by looping your stream around one, while going for the next. The levels progress and things heat up, with obstacles and moving fish, your job on this one is never done! Can it go on forever??
OK, So, lets see what it scores with our PAM breakdown:
- This game is addictive, relaxing and fun all in one go. The movement of the hook is all done through one button, the movement is as fluid as it is solid. Kind of reminds me of Snake. Great!
- Fun 8-bit graphics
- The sounds were retro and made me feel nostalgic. Sound effects were fitting.
- After playing for a little while it becomes repetitive.
- The levels are samey in background and colour, although a description at the bottom of the screen tells you where you are, no real attempt at colouring in the proton stream
- The music was not too much, but just about enough to keep things spooky