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GameFam

August 21, 2005

REVIEW: Finny the Fish & the Seven Waters

  • Platform: PlayStation 2
  • Current Price (new): $25-30
  • Amount of Game Played: Very little (too frustrating)
  • BOTTOM LINE: Swim in the opposite direction
When I first rented Finny the Fish & the Seven Waters from GameFly, I thought it might be a diamond in the rough - one of those games that isn't well-known or rated very highly, but is good nonetheless.

Basically, I thought it might be a nautical version of Dog's Life. Alas, this was not to be.

Finny the Fish has an interesting high concept (something about protecting the oceans from evil, with a wizened old turtle to guide you, grasshopper), but it's probably a tad esoteric for many kids, so I'm not going to go into too much detail about it here.

On the upside, it's a good-looking game, and it's relaxing and mildly enjoyable to just swim around and catch other fish in your (Finny's) mouth.

On the downside, any time you have to actually, y'know, accomplish anything (actually eating the fish you catch, escaping from fish hooks, jumping over walls), the game gets very frustrating. In addition, the camera system is brutal.

Which begs the following question: Why would someone design a game meant for kids, but make it too difficult for kids to play? I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Still, although the kids (and I) were frustrated by the gameplay, they were still somewhat attached to the little fishy, but they liked the idea of Finny more than they liked the actual game.

So, we waved good-bye to Finny, and hello to Mario Power Tennis, which eased the pain of separation.

See ya, Finny. Don't let the kelp hit you in the tail on the way out.

Anyhoo, here are the obligatory screenshots.








10 Comments:

  • Ah, the classic problem: a designer who hasn't figured out who their audience is. It's too bad; the game sure is pretty. But the hallmark of a good kids game, IMHO, is the ability to interest without frustrating.

    My son loves the Spongebob game (which we picked up after reading your review). It has hard parts...but he's more than happy to relinquish the controller for those sequences...and then take over to explore the new areas.

    Unfortunately, he'd also like to play Psychonauts (which he loves watching me play), but the difficulty is set for an older gamer, so it's a struggle to explain to him that he can explore, but Daddy has to play most of the game.

    In fact, that's why I like reading your reviews; most game reviews approach all games with the same methodology...and what makes a good kids game does not necessarily make a good adult game. The design principles and priorities are different, OR SHOULD BE.

    Side note: my daughter got Animal Crossing for her birthday, and digs it. A LOT.

    By Blogger WizarDru, at 5:35 AM  

  • Ah, the classic problem: a designer who hasn't figured out who their audience is. It's too bad; the game sure is pretty. But the hallmark of a good kids game, IMHO, is the ability to interest without frustrating.

    I THOUGHT IT LOOKED GREAT, AND THE KIDS WERE EXCITED TO START, BUT IT'S A BAD SIGN WHEN I CAN'T HELP THEM JUMP OVER A @%$#*! PILE OF ROCKS TO ADVANCE. GRRR!

    My son loves the Spongebob game (which we picked up after reading your review). It has hard parts...but he's more than happy to relinquish the controller for those sequences...and then take over to explore the new areas.

    WE DO THAT A LOT. AS LONG AS I CAN HELP THEM WHEN THEY NEED IT, AND GIVE THE CONTROLLER BACK WHEN THEY'RE READY TO TAKE OVER, THEY'RE HAPPY AS CLAMS.

    Unfortunately, he'd also like to play Psychonauts (which he loves watching me play), but the difficulty is set for an older gamer, so it's a struggle to explain to him that he can explore, but Daddy has to play most of the game.

    I HAVEN'T LET THE KIDS WATCH ME GET MY ASS KICKED AT ALIEN HOMINID, BUT THEY LOVE THE BOX ART. NOW, THOUGH, INSTEAD OF ASKING IF THEY CAN PLAY, THEY JUST SAY, "THAT'S A GROWNUP GAME, RIGHT, DADDY?"

    In fact, that's why I like reading your reviews; most game reviews approach all games with the same methodology...and what makes a good kids game does not necessarily make a good adult game. The design principles and priorities are different, OR SHOULD BE.

    THANKS. FOR ME, IT WAS A NO-BRAINER. WHAT DO KIDS CARE ABOUT SOUND, VISUALS, ETC.?
    1) IS IT FUN?
    2) IS IT EASY TO PLAY, YET CHALLENGING ENOUGH TO BE INTERESTING?
    3) IS IT APPROPRIATE FOR THEIR AGE LEVEL?
    ISN'T THAT ALL PARENTS CARE ABOUT?

    Side note: my daughter got Animal Crossing for her birthday, and digs it. A LOT.

    I'VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT TRYING THAT ONE. HAVEN'T GOTTEN AROUND TO IT, THOUGH.

    By Blogger Dan, at 8:21 AM  

  • Hmmm...apparently I am some kind of playstation retard...i love this game but have been frustrated for the longest time over where the last freaking level is. Just...can't...find...it!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:18 PM  

  • I am trying to get past the tutorial after I caught the ring... I don't know what to do with it once I got it. The dam frog is no help either. Some one please help me on how to get past this, you can email me or post it back here: convinced2481@hotmail.com

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:51 PM  

  • Wish I could help you, man. We stopped playing this frustrating game way too early to be of any help to anyone. Sorry.

    By Blogger Dan, at 8:09 PM  

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    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:11 PM  

  • You have to hit l1 to lock onto the Kappa frog thing once you have the ring.

    By Blogger Veronica Barton, at 11:41 PM  

  • You have to hit l1 and lock onto Kappa (the frog guy) after you get the ring. That will let you talk to him.

    By Blogger Veronica Barton, at 11:42 PM  

  • You have to hit l1 and lock onto Kappa (the frog guy) after you get the ring. That will let you talk to him.

    By Blogger Veronica Barton, at 11:43 PM  

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