Following my open letter to the makers of Worms, here’s another game-themed letter to the makers of another fine game.
That’s really all I should have to say. Here we are, a few years into the mobile app store scene and the game is nowhere to be found. This amazingly addictive game was practically destined to be a success on modern smartphones, so where is it?
For those that have never had the satisfaction of simultaneously making sure that hundreds of cartoon fish are properly fed while also defending them from alien attackers, Insaniquarium is a truly unique game that’s addictive, and one of those rare World of Goo-esque games that was born on the PC but would actually function way better on a touchscreen.
The game involves purchasing various fish, and keeping them fed properly. But this is no sissy aquarium simulator. Staying true to it’s name, Insaniquarium is loaded with arcade action. Properly fed fish reward you with coins which let you purchase other fish, upgrades for food or weapons, and all the while you’re goal is to collect enough cash to purchase three pieces of an egg which completes the level. What’s really quite neat is that the egg hatches as you beat the level to reveal a creature that you can use on future levels. These creatures have all manner of special attributes, such as the ability to help defend your fish from attackers, or help keep them fed. You can only have a small number of the creatures equipped, so your strategy depends on which creatures you choose to work with. The game offers surprisingly deep gameplay for one that is so cartoonish in concept. This video gives a good idea of how the gameplay:
The first version of Insaniquarium was released years ago as a free online game. Subsequent versions were released for Palm and Windows Mobile, but this was back in the day of resistive screens and styli.
Today’s capacitive screens and high-performance phones would be a perfect match for Insaniquarium. The game, which relies exclusively on mouse clicks, would be so much more intuitively and enjoyably played with simple finger taps. On a large screen like the Motorola Xoom or iPad 2, Insaniquarium could even work as a multiplayer game! Not to mention that the gameplay is perfect for quick gaming sessions during a lunch break or while waiting in a long line. And let’s not forget that Insaniquarium existed before the idea of achievements â€“ the inclusion of which would make this game even more delightful and challenging (I can already think of plenty: complete a level with no fish deaths, acquire 500 fish at one time, beat a level with just one fish â€“ the list goes on!). The game’s content also has wide appeal as it’s cartoonish, and easy enough to understand, to appeal to youngsters, but has gameplay that scales well enough to appeal to someone like me who would be considered a serious gamer.
Seriously PopCap, Insaniquarium could be a massive hit in the app stores. You’ve got a wonderfully unique game here and one that needs few (if any) conceptual modifications to work flawlessly on hundreds of millions of modern phones and tablets. I’d take Insaniquarium over Angry Birds any day, please consider releasing this masterpiece to the devices of today.