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About the StoryThis time, those fishy bastards are finally going to get what's coming to them.
19th Place - 13th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2007)
Nominee, Best NPCs; Nominee, Best Individual Puzzle; Nominee, Best Use of Medium - 2007 XYZZY Awards
Slap That Fish is a puzzle RPG. It can be played the brute-force way (and most players are likely to do this -- I know I did), but there is a challenge in defeating each fish quickly and with a minimum of combat. It requires figuring out a certain attack combo (necessary in several of the fights), optimizing your moves, using “extra” turns (some fish can still give a full 20 points even if you “waste” a couple of turns) to preemptively rest for the next battle, and more. What seemed haphazard and poorly conceived on the first play-through seems incredibly clever on a second.
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The gameplay is actually deeper than it seems at first glance. You don’t just type “attack fish” over and over again. There are multiple attacks: punch, kick, slap, and backhand, all usually but not always equivalent. And the fish are more like videogame boss monsters than generic RPG mobs: with the exception of the first one, they all have gimmicks. Some of the fish require puzzle-solving. Even when puzzle-solving isn’t required, it’s often the key to trouncing the fish quickly.
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Rezension zum IF-Comp 2007 (German)
Du verprügelst Fische.
Zugegeben, ich habe es nicht durchgespielt, daher kann ich nicht mit Sicherheit sagen, ob das Spiel nicht genial und tiefgründig endet. Aber das, was sich während des fünfzehnminütigen Spielens darbot, hat mich nicht motiviert, mehr herauszufinden. ...
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Number of Reviews: 5
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Most Helpful Member Reviews
The opening of the game is probably its weakest point: there’s not much information to ground the absurd set-up, and it’s also possible at first not to realize that you can do anything but PUNCH, SLAP, KICK, and BACKHAND the various fish. I went through a few rounds of that and found myself wondering whether there was more to the game than randomized combat. (It’s not really randomized, either, but I didn’t recognize that at the very outset.) So I came close to quitting, before I realized that there were both puzzles and a (slight) story in there; I just hadn’t really gotten to them yet.
Things pick up in the midgame, as new props become available to fight with, we learn a little more about the premise, and the fish start to fight back. The final fight ends with a fanfare and flourish that make the earlier fights seem more significant.
It’s still not what you would call a great game -- the game-play is too repetitive, and there is not enough feedback on puzzle solutions -- but it has a certain quirky charm.
The mechanics of the game are a mix of (non-random) combat involving hit points and several combat actions, and classic IF-puzzles. It turns out, however, that the combat is only another puzzle: since the optimal strategy changes from encounter to encounter and cannot be predicted in advance, this is not a tactical game. It is partly trial and error, partly solving puzzles, as you attempt to get the highest possible score for each of the twelve fish.
It is in the puzzles themselves that Slap that Fish has not been sufficiently tested and polished. Some of the puzzles are badly clued and rather obscure; and there are some errors as well, including TADS-warnings. This detracts from the gameplay in an otherwise very smooth game. I personally used a walkthrough for those parts of the game that I could not quickly solve on my own, and this added to my enjoyment.
In conclusion, Slap that Fish is not a brilliant game. With a bit more polish, it could be a good game. In its current state, it is still a fun game, well worth playing, though you might want to consult the walkthrough when you get stuck.
The fighting system was an interesting choice of vehicle for the puzzles, but I'm not sure that it turned out to be much good, in the end. At first there are no puzzles to solve, and in the end the puzzles are all that really matter--no clever combination of slaps and kicks will save you without the puzzle being solved.
It seems that the author intended to make the game replayable by basing your score on how efficient you were at fighting the fish, but I don't feel any particular desire to revisit this game to improve my score; perhaps this reflects my personality more than the game, though.
Ultimately, the game just seemed to take too long. There were a couple of good puzzles, but for the most part the solutions were pretty obvious. The final puzzle wasn't so much a puzzle as an extended sequence of following instructions, which didn't much appeal to me. Slap That Fish isn't really a bad game; it just isn't really a good game, either.
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