Quick Look: Oceanic

Oceanic is the second game that I've reviewed from Pastel Games, and unlike the first it does not appear to be a flash conversion.  In a lot of ways it feels like it, though.  I think there's a potentially fun game trapped in here somewhere, but as it stands right now Oceanic feels more like a proof of concept than a full fledged game.

The basic premise is that you play a diver that must collect fish and pearls from the bottom of the ocean.  Along the way jellyfish and snails will try and stop you.  That's pretty much it.  There's three different "levels", but they really amount to nothing more than a chance in scenery.  There doesn't appear to be anything different game play wise about the different levels.  As far as the bad guys are concerned, the snails drop down from the the top of the screen and plummet to the bottom in a straight line.  As long as you're not skimming the top of the screen, you shouldn't come in contact with them.  The jellyfish floats lazily from one side of the screen to the other, every once in a while dropping it's tenticles to try and snag you.  Again, not all that difficult to avoid.

Here, fishy, fishy

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A few things could help this game immensely.  The easiest would be to have the jellyfish speed up a bit over time.  Or maybe there could even be more than one jellyfish on the screen at the same time.  Also, since there are three levels, why not have different adversaries for each level?  Even if there were only two types of creatures per level, that would be a lot more interesting than two in the entire game.  And what about boss sequences?  Maybe every once in a while you could have to dodge octopus tentacles coming at you from all directions as you try and get your fish.

Graphically the game is well rendered.  The characters look nice and colorful, and the backgrounds have a subdued, 80s cartoon look to them.  The sound effects fit the mood of the game, though not necessarily the actions themselves.  But, they aren't obnoxious, so that's a plus.  The music, on the other hand, isn't so great.  It actually starts off sounding good for a couple of minutes, but you'll get tired of it pretty quickly.  A separte track for each level would have been nice.

While I appreciate the developer's effort, Oceanic just didn't do it for me.  There's a lot of potential here, but nothing is fleshed out enough to make the game stand out from the crowd.  Hopefully they'll work on the game some more to make it a bit more competitive, but as it stands right now, even at the cheap price of $1.99 there are much better games to be had.

Final Verdict: Not Recommended
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[Note: image courtesy of App Shopper]

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<p>Eric Pankoke has been a gamer for more than 20 years. He began with arcade games, moving to consoles and eventually handhelds and Pocket PCs. Now he spends most of his time on one of his iOS devices. Eric has written more than 700 gaming reviews, which have appeared on a number of gaming websites as well as several issues of both Smartphone & Pocket PC and iPhone Life magazines. He regularly contributes to <a href="http://www.iphonelife.com/blog">iphonelife.com</a> and TouchMyApps. Ultimately he hopes to eventually develop games himself for whatever the hot mobile device is when he finally gets moving.</p>