My focus on mobile games whenever I give a review is a good indicator I'm a big fan of the format, and one game that I've been itching to talk about for some time is Tap Tap Fish.
First published by IDLE Idea Factory, the game is also known as AbyssRium and is free-to-play with in-app purchases.
Tap Tap Fish has a simple premise: through the continuous tapping and earning of points, you can build up a beautiful coral reef and fill it with all sorts of underwater creatures.
The goal of the game is to keep growing the reef, and it's the perfect sort of activity for anyone who was obsessed with stories about the ocean when they were a kid.
Unfortunately, in another reminder of the after-school cartoons that many of us used to watch, there are commercial breaks. A lot of them.
This game is absolutely beautiful when it comes to its graphics, featuring a smoothly animated, highly-detailed coral reef that you can tend to. The menu system is in-depth but straightforward, and while the game is not as calming as some others, it's not stressful.
At no point does Tap Tap Fish feel like it's boring or repetitive, either. Honestly it's a fun and engaging way to spend the afternoon.
If you're big on farming or designing your digital space, you'll love the different features that you can use to decorate your "coralite" structure in Tap Tap Fish, ranging from fish, to whales, to seaweed farms, underwater buildings, and sunken shipwrecks.
You can also dye your coral reef and the water surrounding it in different colors.
As of last count, there are dozens upon dozens of species of fish that you can add to your coral reef, and new fish are added through each themed event.
Above all, this low-stress but constantly evolving environment within Tap Tap Fish makes for an addicting play-through. Once I started designing my own coralite structure, I found it very hard to stop. This is a good trait for a game to have, at least from a developer's perspective. It means the players will keep on coming back for more.
But those ads? Ugh. Too many.
It's a shame that Tap Tap Fish has so many ads, because otherwise it would have been perfect.
Unfortunately it's the sort of mobile game that people point to when they complain that the format is "spammy," and in this case they're right. The ads are everywhere. Literally, everywhere. If you want to advance through the game you can't avoid them.
Do you want to collect gems? You need to watch ads. If you want to replenish your skills, you need to watch ads, too. Are you hoping to grab some special fish or items? There's an ad for each of these things, and unlike My Oasis you can't turn the sound on these ads off, so they can be highly disruptive.
Just the other day, I received and in-game achievement for watching two hundred ads. Yes, you read that right. Two-hundred. Even if Tap Tap Fish cut back on half of their ad placement, this game would be ten times better. I'm sad they didn't, but the medium is what it is.
While Tap Tap Fish gives you a place where you can create a beautiful coral reef, the real life coral reefs of the world are suffering.
Due to climate change and a rising temperature in the oceans, corals are dying off in massive numbers through a process known as "coral bleaching."
The population growth of new coral in the Great Barrier Reef plummeted by 89% after mass bleaching events in 2016 and 2017.