EcoFish is a game I personally wanted to do for a long time. It’s based on games from my childhood – games that I loved but for some reason haven’t been re-done and re-invented a million times already. If you liked old-school platformers you’ll find lots of new games still being made in that genre, but if you look for games like QiX, Styx or Gal’s Panic, you’re not likely to find many.
It wasn’t hard to convince the rest of the team since they played those classics too and loved the ‘genre’ as much as I did!
The core mechanic of the game consists of drawing lines starting from the borders of the playable area enclosing parts of it that are ‘acquired’. If you enclose an enemy within the area you acquire, it is destroyed. We thought this kind of gameplay would fit particularly well on touchscreens and, of course, the PS Vita.
There are different objectives in every level, such as destroying a concrete enemy, eliminating all enemies, acquiring a certain percentage of the screen, and so on. We have deviated there from the original formula, as well as with the enemies.
We designed a wide variety of enemies and obstacles that have different and unique behaviours. So, for instance, there’s an enemy that moves in pulses (an octopus), or another that stops and explodes if you get too close. There are areas that are impenetrable, that slow you down, or even kill you. In total we have over 10 enemies and areas that allow us to provide a lot of variety in the gameplay.
Having all these options allowed us to design a wide variety of levels. We have 90 different levels in total, and 60 of them can be played both in the standard game mode or as a time trial.
We also developed a story for the game. We had the sub-aquatic theme already in our minds, but needed something else. Then somebody thought it would be cool if the main character – the ‘hero’ – was a cleaning fish, someone that would normally take care of leaving the ocean clean and beautiful, just as you see in National Geographic documentaries. There’s been an oil so our hero has to clean the ocean and try to restore peace and harmony.
All in all, I’d say we managed to develop a product that recovers the essence of the old games it’s inspired by, but evolves it and brings new ideas to the table too. What’s more, we tried to create a pleasing visual and audio environment and an ecologically-themed story that’s a good fit for the crazy and funny characters that populate this world.
I hope you all enjoy it!