Beyond its peculiar choice of name, Carps & Dragons largely made me reminisce about a board game called Grabbin’ Grasshoppers. Plucked from obscurity during my misspent youth, players were patiently left waiting for the plastic critters to pounce into the air – frantically trying to scoop as many as they possibly could before their competition ever had the opportunity to do so themselves.
That maddening, yet frightfully addictive, experience is replicated here. Abylight’s reworking of their original WiiWare release Fish ’em all! sees the developer replace furious Wii Remote swinging for rapid button bashing as you look to secure enough scaly creatures to fill three golden markers to pass each stage.
You’ll choose between musically-gifted fishermen Jack and Walter as you bound around the screen swinging your net in an effort to capture the kaleidoscopic assortment of fish, each rewarding you with individual point values.
Controls are approachable, notably accessible for anyone to rejoice in the game’s rampant fish hoarding nature, seeing you jump with B whilst hitting A swings your oversized net. However, the rather floaty weight to the game may frustrate despite proving more predictable for younger children to follow, whilst knowing precisely where to position yourself to grab a fish is also unclear.
It’s not all a walk in the park either, with plenty of hazards thrown your way to keep you on your toes. Bombs threaten to temporarily stun you if accidentally struck by your net, sharks circle your position before attempting to scare you, and wandering hedgehogs roll by in an attempt to knock you off-guard. Progression sees this regularly switched up, and soon be dodging fire-breathing dragons, karate-chopping rats, and excessively rotund toads.
Abylight serve up Challenge and Fishtris modes to differentiate your playtime, seeing you tackle specified objectives and attempt to catch three colour-matched fishes in a row to score, respectively. The strategic mindset that these promote actually prove all the more enticing than the standard Arcade mode, so look to spend time within these if you choose to pick Carps & Dragons up.
It’s similarly nice to see Download Play supported, letting you pass the game’s demo on to another 3DS so that you can enjoy two-player Versus or Fishtris together, providing a more competitive slant beyond the leaderboards.
Through its colourful design and idyllic environments Carps & Dragons impresses beyond an otherwise busy gameplay experience. Frequently throwing new surprises at players, Abylight’s latest suitably makes a splash on the Nintendo eShop.