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Fishdom: Spooky Splash

Score: 85%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Playrix Entertainment
Developer: Playrix Entertainment
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Puzzle/ Arcade/ Strategy

Graphics & Sound:

Fishdom: Spooky Splash is very reminiscent of Fishdom: Frosty Splash, a game I reviewed earlier. The look is pretty similar, however we're not simply dealing with a palette swap. While the core concept is the same, Playrix Entertainment did take steps to make sure there was enough difference in both games to make them stand out in their own right. For starters, the puzzles are different. I can't say that there are no duplicates whatsoever, but I definitely didn't notice the same puzzles come up in this game as I had in Frosty Splash, so if there are duplicates, I didn't notice it. A lot of tile piece designs are the same as we have seen before in other Fishdom games, simply because the aquatic-themed ones would be. You'll see seashells, manta rays, conch shells and more, but you'll also see Halloween-themed pieces like witch's hats, ghosties and jack-o-lanterns. It's all very cute and pleasant to look at.

The real scene-stealers, however, are the Halloween-themed tanks you'll be building as you progress through the game. There are a number of them for you to purchase and improve, as well as all kinds of fish, decorations and comfort items to fill them with. There were different fish than there were in Fishdom: Frosty Splash, so that was good to see, plus a bevy of décor and items that were appropriately themed for the scary season, like cauldrons, witches, pumpkins and so on. The tanks are fairly elaborate, even as the tile pieces are simple. There's even a Halloween fish to purchase, the most expensive one naturally, and he's just one big skeleton!

The music in the Fishdom games never fails to impress me and Fishdom: Spooky Splash is no exception. Each tune that plays in the background is appropriately eerie and creepy, yet still nice to listen to. The sound effects are the same fare you will find in other Fishdom titles, nice clunking tile sounds when they shuffle down into the spaces, a crisp chain breaking sound when you break through a locked tile, and a pleasant swoosh when you swap two tiles.


Gameplay in Fishdom: Spooky Splash is best compared to Jewel Quest and other tile swapping/match-three games. You are presented with a board covered in decorated tiles of different types. Some tile backgrounds are blue, some are gold, some are silver and some even have golden chains draped across them (up to three) and are blocking off areas where tiles can't filter down. Your object is to clear the board of the gold and silver tiles only, although you can swap tiles wherever you can to accomplish this. If the chained tiles are blocking an area that is void of tiles, you'll still notice that the backgrounds may have some gold or silver tiles waiting to be filled. By swapping two tiles and matching three or more, the matching tiles will disappear and new tiles will filter into the spaces they left, giving you more matching opportunities. If a tile is blocking an area and has a chain across it, you will have to make sure to match the correct tile to it, while not being able to actually move the chained tile. As soon as you destroy the gold and silver tiles, you are finished with the level, even if you were able to do it very quickly. The longer you play, however, the more money you tend to earn, so speedy isn't always better.

Your ultimate goal is to complete boards and earn money so you can fill your somewhat empty tank with beautiful fish, Halloween-inspired décor and comfort items that will both help with the overall well-being of your fish and also jazz up the tank since they are also decorative in nature. You'll start the game off with a small amount of money, enough to purchase the lowest priced fish and a small plant to decorate the tank. Then, you have to begin clearing boards to earn cash. Clearing a board rapidly will result in a bonus for all of the time you have left on the more than generous timer, but you also score points (which translate into aqua-cash) every time you clear tiles, regardless of whether they are tiles necessary to complete the board. So if you want to roll through the boards quickly to progress that way, quickly finishing the boards is your best bet. If you'd prefer to decorate your tank more rapidly, then sticking around and clearing tiles is a better strategy. Either way, the boards are plentiful and there is plenty of gameplay to be had here.

As you purchase fish, décor and comfort items, a bar will fill depending on the price of the item. More expensive items and fish fill the bar more rapidly. Once you have hit 100% on all three bars, you earn a trophy: Bronze, Silver, then finally Gold. Completing all three bars a full three times gives you the Gold trophy. The reason these matter is that having a trophy also gives you bonus points for each board cleared, so basically the more you progress, the more points you will score on each round.


There is no difficulty selection on Fishdom: Spooky Splash. You can select either Relaxed Mode or Against the Clock Mode, which utilizes the generous timer. Relaxed Mode is just to play and chill. There's even a Screen Saver Mode if you just want to watch your frolicking fish play in their new home and you can access that by clicking the Eye icon in the top left of the screen.

The boards start off really easy and then slowly ramp up in difficulty. I really liked the pace. It's nice to be able to quickly roll through boards if you want to and to make quick progress, but if you just want to clear tiles, you can do that all day on Relaxed Mode and its mindless fun. If you are playing on Against the Clock, obviously there's a bit more pressure, but I never had to redo a board more than twice. There's a nice dose of challenge, but it's not ever overwhelming. As you progress into the boards that are Level 50 and over, you will get some tough ones, but they are puzzles after all and simply require you to figure out the trick to solving them.

Game Mechanics:

Fishdom: Spooky Splash is all about the mouse click. You'll be clicking to swap tiles and to fill your aquarium. That's about all there is to it, as far as control goes. As you clear boards, you are always taken back to the main area where you are presented with your tank and the options to add to it. There is a list of fish to choose from and when you click on them, a brief explanation about the fish pops up. There is also a list of décor choices to scroll through and a list of comfort items and their descriptions. However, sometimes your existing fish will offer you suggestions in the form of thought bubbles. Maybe they want an auto-feeder or maybe they want a particular tank-mate. Always pay attention to what they are trying to tell you and linger at your tank for a bit to see if they are trying to communicate to you. I didn't realize what a difference it makes, but when I purchased a plant that a fish had specifically been mind-requesting from me, as soon as it appeared in the tank, he started swimming all around and through it. It was really cute.

You'll also notice that the same fish you purchase will appear in the tank that lies in the background behind your tile boards. Sure, you can only see it before the board appears and after that, just the edges, but its nice to see the fish you buy swimming about. It won't be your tank, but rather it will be other tanks that you can purchase later on, fully stocked with awesome Halloween-based décor. Once you have completed your first tank and earned your trophies, you can go on to buy more tanks and decorate them to have a fleet of Halloween-themed tanks!

Finally, the game is kind enough to save your game no matter where you are, so if you need to run and haven't completed the board, never fear. It will be waiting for you upon your return, exactly as you left it.

Fishdom: Spooky Splash is a cute, Halloween-inspired casual game that would be a good choice for anyone who enjoys Jewel Quest or match-three type games. If you already own one of the other Fishdom tile-swapping games, you may not necessarily need to purchase another one, but if you are jonesin' for some new boards and you like spooky themes, check out Fishdom: Spooky Splash.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

Minimum System Requirements:

OS: Windows NT, 2000, XP or Vista; CPU: 1 GHz; RAM: 512MB; DirectX: 8.0 or higher; Video: 128MB

Test System:

Windows Vista, 2 GHz AMD Phenom 9500 Quad-Core Processor, 8GB RAM, Realtek High Definition Audio On-Board Sound, NVIDIA GeForce 8300

Related Links:

Windows Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Nintendo Wii Ultimate Party Challenge

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated