As much as I hate to admit it, Disney has put out some incredibly good iOS games over the last couple years. Where’s My Water?, Puffle Launch, Breakspin, Jelly Car, Where’s my Perry?, it’s becoming harder and harder not to check it out when Disney releases a new title into the AppStore. Their most recent, Disney Fish Hooks, is a prime example of a game I didn’t think I’d like, and ended up eventually loving. What’s even more surprising, is that Fish Hooks is a physics puzzler, something I, personally, got sick of some time ago. But Fish Hooks has so much charm and that spark that keeps me coming back to it that I just can’t ignore it.
Fish Hooks is one of very few Disney original cartoons currently in production, which I guess says something. It revolves around a tiny fish Milo and his friends at Freshwater High, a school in a pet store’s aquarium. Why does this matter? Because you’ll be able to watch some cut-scenes, and unlock Milo’s friends in the game, and it’s always nice to know a little backstory, right? Anyway…
Disney Fish Hooks contains 5 worlds, with 50 levels split up between them and a bonus level in each world which, once completed, unlocks another of Milo’s friends for you to play as. Sadly, the characters do not each have separate abilities or stats, making it purely a cosmetic feature. The goal is to collect all 3 apples in each stage before making it to the exit. This is done by manipulating the environment with bubbles to send your character in different directions, bouncing off of turtle shells, and creating and popping bubbles around your character, making them stop, float up and fall down in specific areas.
Usually, you’re able to find teeter totter type objects in each level, which can be manipulated by creating bubbles underneath either side of them. Most levels will require that you set up all of these objects before popping your characters bubble, and sending them throughout the stage. As they’re making their way around the stage, bouncing off of turtle shells, you sometimes will need to quickly tap on your character, which will create another bubble around them. This stops them in their tracks, and immediately sends them floating to the top of the screen. This is a handy mechanic when trying to make your character land on a specific turtle shell or when trying to collect an apple that isn’t on the path you’ll travel while bouncing off of the shells. As you move on through different environments, and worlds, more spiffy mechanics are added to the gameplay, like spiky coral which instantly kills you if you touch it, moving turtle shells that require timed bubble pops, anvils that smash through coral, moving coral, and more.
The 3 apples in each stage act as a 3 star ranking system. Unfortunately, there is no GameCenter support, which does take away from the drive to 3-Apple each stage. There is also no scoring system, and no timer, so if you’re not driven by the desire to collect each of the apples, there’s no real additional drive outside of that, which is unfortunate. Fish Hooks would seriously benefit from a scoring system and GameCenter integration, and it is something I hope is added to the game in a future update.
As with most games, when you start playing, it’s a little more than easy. Almost too easy actually. I was almost turned off of the game before completing the first 10 levels. But the physics, level designs, and gameplay mechanics showed more than enough potential that I made myself stick with it, and as the difficulty level gradually increased, so did the amount of enjoyment I was having while playing.
With Disney Fish Hooks available for FREE, the only thing you’ll really risk if you check it out is time, but if you stick with it, and get through the first world, the game really starts to pick up, and becomes incredibly fun. Seeing GameCenter added in a future update would be great, and judging by Disney’s past releases, and fantastic support through updates with them, I’m thinking it’s a real possibility. Even if you’re sick of physics-puzzlers, Fish Hooks is definitely a title worth checking out, and has the potential to be another Disney game you wind up keeping on your device.