Reviewed: October 5, 2006
Released: March 15, 2006
ďThereís always a bigger fishĒ. Not only can the same be said in Feeding Frenzy, but the same could also be said when comparing this to the other games on Xbox Live Arcade. You know, normally the overview is my favourite part of the review process, because it allows me to get personal with the readers and maybe get a little nostalgic about the games Iíve played in the past. Today, thatís not the case; I have nothing to compare this game to, thereís nothing it reminds me off, and thereís nothing out there that Iíve had as much fun playing.
Thatís not to confuse you and make you think I had fun playing it, itís just that thereís no game that I recall feeling as empty about. So with that being said, Iíll just skip all the usual banter I normally feel compelled to blurt out in these few paragraphs - and get right on with the review. Besides, if this review is too long, Iím likely to lose your attention as quickly as Feeding Frenzy lost mine.
A gauge at the top of the screen calculates the size and quantity of other fish within the sea that you eat. You see, thatís the entire objective of the game; eating fish. The gauge is split into numerous sections; and until you fill that first fraction of the gauge, youíre feasting options are limited. Once you fill the gauge part of the way up, you grow in size and your edible options increase.
Thanks to your new, bloated size, fish that could once eat you are now on the menu as well. (Itís a dog eat dog world out there folks!) Grow again and you can nearly eat anything in your path. Fill the gauge up entirely and you move on to the next stage. Lather, rinse and repeat.
As you progress through the game you eventually turn into different types of fish, and can feed upon even bigger game. Eventually working your way up the food chain to becoming a killer whale, which, last time I check was actually a mammal. Iíll have to get Jacques Cousteau on the horn and double check in that.
As the game moves along you learn new abilities to help you out, like a speed dash, which allows you to escape harm or grab pearls from the oysters at the bottom of the screen before they close their jaws around you. You can also earn a limited ability that can be used to suck entire schools of fish into your gaping maw, but be cautious, suck a larger fish into your mouth, and itís you who could lose out.
Power-ups become available as well. Some give you more speed to finesse you way around the ocean. A chomp power-up, similar to a smart bomb that automatically moves you around the screen at a frenzied pace, eating everything you can handle in sight Ė and the best benefit of all, a shiny, glowing goldfish that increases your growth one complete level without having to eat a single thing. These are rare and difficult to capture, but advance you through a level much quicker than normal eating.
To be honest, the game is rather easy if you are careful and take your time; itís obviously geared towards kids. The most difficult part of each level is usually the beginning, because everything is larger than you, but as you grow bigger the threat of being eaten goes down. In Feeding Frenzy, being small sucks and being big makes you nearly impervious to danger.
Still, there are a few hazards no matter what your size. Depth charges fall from the surface of the ocean and explode, jellyfish shock you and make you momentarily unable to move and other dangers, like the poisonous green fish; mess up your controls so when you move, up is down, and left is right etcÖ
Overall itís a very basic game that controls well, is easy to learn and simple to just pick up and play. In fact, as far as gaming goes, it really doesnít offer anything all thatís innovative or thrilling to separate it from the pack, but thereís also nothing terribly wrong with whatís there.
Graphics, hehÖ you know those aquarium screensavers you can download? Well, those look better. While all the fish within the game are extremely vibrant and colourful, the animations of these fish are a little dull and without any level of realism or fluidity. The fish donít even have a decent turning animation when you switch directions of travel; instead they basically just flip over.
While itís nice that the backgrounds change on a regular basis to keep things fresh, the changes of scenery just doesnít make up for the lack up life to be found in an ocean thatís supposed to be teaming with like. Feeing Frenzy is a bright, colourful game, but little else.
Oh man, where do I begin? While the music suits the game perfectly, featuring soft, melodic and tranquil stuff that you might hear if you owned one of those relaxation CDís, the sound effects are something else entirely.
While humorous at first, they become totally annoying after a brief period. Every time you swallow a fish - and the effect changes slightly depending on the size of the prey you eat. WellÖ it sound like they placed a microphone next to the mouth of a guy eating a bag of Doritos. ďChoMP! CruNch! ChOmP!Ē. Eat 20 fish in a few seconds and youíll likely start to go nuts. Itís so unbelievable - the sound effect for chewing up fish, that I can hardly remember anything else. Theyíre pretty hysterical at first, because theyíre so exaggerated, but soon after the novelty goes away, theyíre just plain stupid.
With a little patience, itís not impossible to beat this entire game the first time you play it, despite the fact that there are a huge number of levels. For 800 Marketplace points itís really hard for me to imagine any sane, adult human being downloading this game unless they happen to have kids. Kids will probably love it and even though you can use a face button to do the speed dash and a few other moves, a small child could probably play through a few levels of the game using nothing but the left analog stick, and most likely have a great time while doing it.
As full as the ocean can be, this ocean is a little shallow - itís more like a tide pool. The gameplay is there for the most part, but itís just a little too generic and mundane to excite most people.
The graphics, while vivid and colourful, just donít have as much life as the world that inspired them, and the sound effects, holy smoke, the only way you could hear more crunching is if you went to an ďall you can eatĒ nacho buffet in the heart of Mexico.
In the end, Feeding Frenzy isnít a horrible game, itís plays just fine, but thereís nothing particularly special about it either. Add to that the 800-point price tag and this Frenzy is harder to swallow than those dry, multi-colour flakes that you feed your goldfish.