PS2 REVIEW: FINNY THE FISH & THE SEVEN WATERS

Finny the Fish & the Seven Waters has a kind of naive charm to it. It's meant for kids but it can be played by adults because of its simple premise and arcade-style gameplay. Just don't expect to play it too long because it does get boring.

Kids may be fascinated by Finny and his friends and the game might keep them interested long enough for you to enjoy back-to-back episodes of Dog the Bounty Hunter. In Finny the Fish we're given an underwater perspective of what it's like to be a fish as we swim around, look for things to eat, solve puzzles and avoid getting snagged by a hook from above. There's a story to the game and some interesting characters although the overall effect is something like a poor imitation of a Disney production.

Finny, the hero, is saddled with the responsibility of calming the waters. He lives in a pond but has access to other ponds, swamps, lakes, streams, rivers and waterfalls which he can access by jumping or locating secret shortcuts. Finny has limited moves and the controls aren't very tight making the entire experience somewhat flimsy - like a dead fish.

Eating is one of Finny's greatest pleasures. It also keeps him healthy. You can monitor his intake with the stomach meter. To eat, you just approach a small, mouthwatering seafood snack and chomp away. The bigger treats will give you more satisfaction but they also put up a bigger fight. I must admit that I don't eat seafood but this game does make me hungry. Just thinking of a fried version of Finny with tartar sauce and a plateful of fries is enough to get my gastric juices flowing.

Speaking of fights (and food), prepare to do some battling of your own if you manage to get hooked by one of the anglers that is also looking for a meal. You have to swim like crazy and try to tighten the line at which time you will give it a quick snap and hope to break it. I know that getting hooked is not a good thing but it's the most excitement that you'll experience in the game so you'll probably want to risk your life again and again and again…

Most of the time you'll be swimming around solving puzzles and searching for items to fulfill your missions. There's a lot of backtracking and these fetch quests can get really boring fast. At least the environments are cool. They're loaded with obstacles and characters that are both friend and foe.

The animation is good but the graphics are great. The worlds are bright, clear and colorful. Character models are fully realized and aside from the annoying voiceovers, they would certainly be at home in a full length animated movie. I think the developers missed the boat on this one because it talks down to kids too much. I was wondering if the developers, Natsume, are a subsidiary of Fisher Price?

Finny the Fish offers short bursts of entertainment best reserved for a rental. If you've got a really, really, young tyke it might provide a few hours of fun but the novelty will be short lived for all involved.

Click For Media
System: PS2
Dev: Natsume
Pub: Sony
Release: June 2005
Players: 1
Review By Cole
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
2.5
GRAPHICS
4.5
CONTROL
2.0
MUSIC/FX
3.0
VALUE
1.0