Along with whiffing a bit of Zelda, what with its top-down viewpoint and wandering protagonist who has a tendency to get a bit stabby, Legend of the Skyfish is a handy warning about the dangers of overfishing. No, stick with us on this…
In Little Red Hook’s world, greedy people in boats ruthlessly farmed the seas. Only instead of fish ’n’ chips gradually getting pricier, the fish revolted, conquered the people, turned them into mutant slaves, and built massive statues of their leader everywhere. Yikes.
Little Red Hook managed to escape, by cunningly being thrown overboard a slave ship into the murky depths, and was fortunately found by the Moonwhale, ‘warden of the seas’. Given the Skyfish’s rapid takeover of the world, we’d argue the Moonwhale’s not a terribly great warden to pin your hopes on, but there you go.
A whale of a time
Quite a bit of training later and Little Red Hook’s ready to take back the land from gilled aggressors. She trudges about, flicking switches, and using her apparently seriously sharpened fishing rod to turn gobbing sea horses and land-based puffer fish into so much sushi. At level’s end, she engages in some justified vandalism, hacking to pieces a Skyfish totem.
The best bit, though, is the hookshot. Little Red Hook’s rod can be used to snare solid objects, hurling her from island to island, grabbing stone blocks to weigh down uncooperative switches, and unsportingly yanking enemies across the screen to impale them on spikes. Despite the on-screen controls occasionally being sub-optimal at times, whizzing about the place by fishing rod makes for some fast-paced and entertaining times.
Making a splash
As you conquer more of the 45 levels, it becomes clear that although Skyfish looks a bit Zeldaish, it’s far more linear. You’re shepherded along a very clearly defined path, with only infrequent deviations to ‘hidden’ areas that bestow additional kit. It’s also quite easy, bar the odd moment battling a boss or sprinting through spike-laden stretches without getting horribly killed.
But for the most part, none of this matters, because Skyfish does a lot with what it has. It looks and sounds great, and has a tendency to subvert what you’ve learned to keep you on your toes. The behaviour of hazards subtly changes, being used in increasingly devious ways; and new foes appear to shake up how you deal with combat.
Throughout, the game looks and sounds great, too, from the rousing soundtrack to the way bushes and grass rustle as you brush past. So while Skyfish’s waters may be a touch shallow, they’re very much fun to splash about in.
Legend of the Skyfish is available for iOS. An Android port is due later this year.