Blue Fish Yokohama is a puzzle game that charmed me during Steam Next Fest earlier this month. I picked it up on release and having been enjoying its quirky set up and interesting grid based tactical eating gameplay. You see, in this game, you play as a fish that wants to gobble up every dish currently being served and eaten in the Japanese restaurant you reside in. Time to stuff your fishy belly!
Using the mouse only you’ll splash out of your bowl into a bowl of ramen with the goal being to keep landing in a new dish of food to eat on every move. There are three types of dishes that work like a colour code for moves. Yellow allows you to move one space, orange two and red three. There is a helpful grid view that you can use to get the hang of the game but as soon as you learn these basic mechanics, other obstacles start to be added.
Restaurants will have walls and corner nooks for you to bounce into and off of – each hit taking up the equivalent of one space move. There are bouncy placemats on tables that will launch you across tables to your next dish. There are gaps between tables to leap over and lastly the sushi conveyor belt moves everything on it one space every time you move. All these mechanics combine to create excellently crafted puzzles that can be solved in 30 seconds or leave you head scratching for several minutes at a time. The sushi belts are extra tricky because you need to plan for where the next move will take you when the belt stops. Often there is a single route around the level but nothing is hidden – its all logic and very doable so long as you plan carefully.
It’s that logic and handcrafted level design that elevates Blue Fish Yokohama to a cult puzzle status for me. Levels crammed with tables where you ricochet off walls and make a customer scream in horror as you gobble their dinner made me smile. On top of that the retro cubist artstyle adds to the charm and so does the vintage classical Japanese soundtrack. It is played through a vinyl filter and adds so much character and charm to the game as you plot your next moves. The undo button is quick and a level reset option is available too for good quality of life features. One thing I did find odd was that levels do not unlock numerically but in a grid. If you complete level 7 it’ll unlock level 17 below it. Complete level 17 and it opens up levels 16, 18 and 27 around it. I found it useful though as it then gives you a selection of levels to try if you get stuck.
For the price point, Blue Fish Yokohama is a well built, well designed and very enjoyable puzzle game to enjoy. The 50 levels will keep you going for around 2 – 3 hours as the latter levels can take a fair bit of rework to get right but the early levels can be done in a few seconds. It isn’t hugely taxing but the overall experience lends itself well to slower paced logic tracking. This is one greedy fish I’m happy to recommend.
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