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Fish and Groove – Review

Rhythm games are my bread and butter so I’ll try any and all of them. I picked up Fish and Groove for 39p on the Steam Summer Sale, expecting little. I was drawn to its traditional Chinese soundtrack. Sadly, that’s all it really offers.

Across its 8 tracks, awkwardly named with a nonsensical number system, we have lush traditional Chinese music. The guzhengs, and erhu’s beautifully ring out as the traditional instruments weave their magic. It is a great change of pace for a music rhythm game. Fish are divided into 4 lanes and you need to press 1,2,3 or 4 on the keyboard as they hit the diamonds to score points. Annoyingly the fish don’t seem to follow the music at all, its tied to the assumed BPM of the track. It never feels satisfying nor challenging. There’s only one difficulty too.

If you score badly the sky will turn grey – like your mind as you play it.

Whilst that is all quite short sighted and poor, the real issue is with the game breaking bug it has. When a song ends, 3 out of 5 times the song repeats itself on an endless loop with no more fish coming out of the sea. You can’t exit out of the game, it just continues forever. After a CTRL, ALT and delete, you’ll find your score is never captured and you’ll have to play the song again. This leads to an odd lottery of ‘will it work this time’ and most of the time it doesn’t. For a game you can play and complete in 15 minutes (with some replayability it must be said), I didn’t expect to be arguing with it an hour later trying to register my fourth score in the game.

I like the concept but this game is poor. The single graphical screen is nice but the scoring system is too woolly, the gameplay stale and the charts do not match any of the music. It just feels like tapping some keyboard buttons to some very nice music. Not that your score will save after it mind you… Avoid.

Fish and Groove
Final Thoughts
Broken, buggy and uninspired. Just enjoy the soundtrack separately if its available.
Beautiful traditional Chinese instrumental soundtrack.
Game breaking bug effects 3 in 5 plays.
Scoring is too woolly to be much of a challenge.
The rhythm charts are tied to BPM (kind of) and have no resemblance of the music being played.
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