PEGBRJE: Fish Fly Fever and Hatch

One’s cute. The other is stressful. Helloooo

Gifs make everything cuter. And funny.

Fish Fly Fever is a small ‘cute-em-up’ by Froach Club, an indie studio comprising of three individuals making adorable titles for various platforms. Players are the aforementioned Fish Flys, a species of microscopic creatures living in the darkness of a planet called Overling. These creatures have been sent on a mission: to destroy the ‘deadly trio’ that have been invading their home and terrorizing their turf. Time to go to work.

Players begin the game by selecting their hero Fish Fly out of the nine unlockable characters, and begin their defense of their home. This involves the Fish Fly constantly moving forward in a stream of bubbles, and it is up to players to control the rotation so that they don’t just run into walls; this does mean that there are no breaks however, so get ready for constant movement until death. Those bubbles aren’t just for show, as they are also the glorious weapon that players will use to destroy the invading forces of plankton. This means how one positions their constantly moving Flash Fly will determine what dies and what narrowly dodges to live in a frustrating spiral manner. If our little hero is able to destroy these dastards, then a gem will be left behind, which fuels the forward motion of the title. Each gem collected adds one to the counter below, and is the general way to unlock new Fish Flys. It will also add a set amount to the thermometer at the top which will begin to deteriorate. Collecting gems quickly will compound the meter until it maxes out and gives FEVER MODE, which turns those simple bubbles into massive spirals of destruction. Once enough gems have been acquired, a boss might appear to grace the field, and it’s destruction will yield an upgrade for the player to continue forward.

It’s simplicity isn’t the only thing that makes Fish Fly Fever so fun, it’s the adorable animations of the little Fish Flys. They’ve all got little animated faces as they fly through the scary darkness, along with their own backing track to accompany them. There’s the rotation they all do where they actually tilt in the direction the player inputs, which is a nice touch. Even their demise is adorable in a depressing way, although I wouldn’t advertise just ending a run just to see the animation.

All of these come together to make an adorably compact title that anyone can go anywhere with. There’s easy viewing modes to remove much of the visual clutter, a paint mode to just let your creativity run wild, and it’s obviously available for mobile — I couldn’t see anything for Android, so assume it’s only for iOS. If you are looking for a title for small children or just want something to pass a few minutes of time, try it out.

Is that a beluga whale up there? Can I GET UP THERE?

Hatch is an adventuring puzzle experience made by Rubeki, the solo dev from Toronto that gave us Hollow Head DC prior in the bundle. I immediately recognized the name, and I would be lying if I didn’t say that my immediate bias was to fear this title; and I was partially right. See, players are a strange individual born of an egg, told only that the half sun will bake them alive if they stay in its sight. With nothing else, they venture forth to attempt the climb to the top of… whatever the heck the massive thing is.

The last time I talked about Rubeki’s game I mentioned I had gotten better at horror titles thanks to constant exposure, but ultimately was still weak. I wish I could say I’ve improved since then.

Players in Hatch are in a first person camera environment, performing a bizarre platforming-style in which they can climb up walls that are angled away from the player. For example, if the floor is flat and the wall is the second axis, an obtuse angle between the two is needed to scale the wall. This is then amplified by the half sun in the sky, which upon it seeing the player will begin to burn them alive until they are forced to restart from a checkpoint. This means terror upon hearing the sizzle, and it only gets scarier from here; the higher up players go, the more perilous the jumps become. To say I was nervous would be an understatement, as every jump made me worried I would fall all the way back down again. Oh and there’s no fall damage, so to restart from the last checkpoint players need to submit to the sun.

I called it a puzzle because there’s no true way of figuring out the way up, it’s up to the player to figure out how they wish to make their way skywards. This leads to dozens of different ways to explore, but also dozens of ways to get stuck in what one might think is the ‘correct’ path. I made it up to my second checkpoint simply by chance after randomly jumping to another area, only to find it had a stretch of angled wall to climb. Weirdly satisfying.

If I had to summarize Hatch, I’d say that it felt like the more stressful wall-climbing event I’ve ever gone to. The combination of looking for proper scaling walls and the constant threat of the sun made for a feeling of needing to triple check where I was going at all times for fear that I would reach a platform only to be evaporated. Yet it’s somehow still quite relaxing, and keeps that tinge of surrealism I’ve come to expect, like that whale in the sky. If you are looking for a climbing simulator that will take longer than expected, this is the time to shine.

Links! Why aren’t they in order >:(

Game Dev who decided to take on the monumental task of giving an overview of all 59 pages in the bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. We keep going.