I Am Fish Xbox Series X Review

I Am Fish journey towards freedom is laced with a lot of death but those who come out victorious will find the adventure was well worth taking.

By Grayshadow, Posted 17 Sep 2021

I Am Fish has a lot of positive qualities. The difficult physics-based platforming offers a variety of challenges that test the player's precision and endurance. The narrative is joyful and simple as a bunch of fish friends attempt to find a way to the ocean and reunite. The problems rise up with the technical polish of the title with low frame rate cutscenes and an inconsistent momentum system. Despite these shortcomings, I Am Fish is a delightful platformer full of charm and challenge.
 

I Am Fish,NoobFeed,
 

I Am Fish story is simply, 4 fish friends suddenly gain a newfound intelligence after eating some "special" bread and desire to escape to the ocean after being separated. You control a Goldfish, Flying Fish, Pufferfish, and finally a Piranha. Each one stars in their own story of how they reached the ocean in distinct levels. It's a good story that wraps everything together by the end and even shows the developers trying to build a larger universe with their games.

Players start with the Goldfish, which serves as the tutorial, and then choose whatever of the other 3 fish's campaigns. With the exception of the Goldfish, each fish has a unique ability. The Pufferfish can blow up and move on the land easier, the Flyingfish can glide, and the Piranha can use its teeth to destroy obstacles and open valves. Each fish has challenges linked to each of these skills with each fish having 3 stages that increase in difficulty.

Since I Am Fish deals heavily with momentum-based physics you can just move instantly. Moving forward and turning isn't as easy as moving the joystick, instead, environmental limitations prevent this. Since you're a fish this restricts you on how you move around the environment, using hamster balls full of water, mop buckets, and even a glass of water as to not suffocate. When not available you'll use fish tanks and drainage systems to move around.
 

I Am Fish,NoobFeed,
 

The developers created some great puzzles to complement these boundaries. For example, to escape a bathroom the Piranha has to flood the room by destroying valves and then biting a seagull's leg so it would carry it to the water outside. There are plenty more of these puzzles and solving them is fun.

To guide the player checkpoints are placed at your next goal and are visible. Since there are plenty of checkpoints you won't lose much progress when you die, and you're going to die a lot. I Am Fish is a trial and error game so expect failure a lot during your first playthrough. The game's platforming is unforgiving and usually requires to pinpoint accuracy, especially when jumping out of water. If you're gutsy there are optional collectibles in hard-to-reach areas that only count if you grab it and hit the next checkpoint, followed by clearing the level. If you do fail you can hit a button and instantly reset.

You're graded based on your performance for each stage, this is based on deaths and time completed. With 13 stages you'll have to memorize a lot of content if you wish to get all 5-star ratings in everything.
 

I Am Fish,NoobFeed,
 

What was a bit shocking was the quality of the music, it's pretty good. Matching the cartoonish tone is a light-hearted musical score that tends to go against the game's punishing difficulty. Then again the visual design is also contradictory to the game's challenge but both are well designed. 

I Am Fish can create some challenging obstacles but it can become frustrating. The momentum system is not great and can be fickle when you're attempting to make critical jumps. There were plenty of times where I charged from across a tank only to do a tiny flop. Valves are difficult to turn, gliding is annoying due to the poor trajectory system, you cannot reset the camera, and the ally AI clings to you. During the final mission, you get access to all your fish allies but swim so close to you that you'll constantly knock into them. If you plan to play the game on the hardest Iron Fish mode be aware that the game will fight you every step of the way.

There are other technical problems with the cutscenes and certain visuals. The cutscenes run at a lower frame rate and it's hard not to notice. There's also no inverted camera option so if you're used to flying with this feature be prepared for some extra deaths.
 

I Am Fish,NoobFeed,
 

Despite all the vexation and deaths, I had fun with I Am Fish. It was a unique adventure that ran with novel ideas. It definitely needs more polish on the technical side those who hate failing should pass on this. It's something different, elegant, and refreshing but also aggravating and at times unfair. I Am Fish journey towards freedom is laced with a lot of death but those who come out victorious will find the adventure was well worth taking.
 

Adam Siddiqui,
Managing Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

I Am Fish

70/100

Platform(s): Xbox One, PC
Publisher(s): Curve Digital
Developer(s): Bossa Studios
Genres: Adventure, Action
Themes: Adventure
Release Date: 2021-09-16

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