Written by  :  Nowhere Girl (3088)
Written on  :  Sep 04, 2017
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  3.2 Stars3.2 Stars3.2 Stars3.2 Stars3.2 Stars
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Summary

Be prepared to play this game for days, even weeks...

The Good

I can't seem to get enough when it comes to beautiful graphics. So I was a bit disappointed to discover that, after you get golden cups for three aquariums in "Fishdom 2" and are able to buy a new tank - there is no new style, only a possibility to get another tank in one of the known styles. So from this point of view "Fishdom 3" is a lot of improvement. There are eight styles available. However, the game progresses very slowly...
Altogether, I like the game's graphics very much and what I like even more is that in "Fishdom 3" it seems a bit less crowded and more customizable. In "Fishdom 2" - especially in the Egyptian tank - all these decorations started obscuring one another, it was hard to put them in a way that would at least leave all the most beautiful parts of each one visible. And yet such a lot of decorations is needed to win a golden cup... In "Fishdom 3" the ancient Greece-styled aquarium is getting a bit too crowded, but generally in most tanks it's possible to keep decorations reasonably apart. It's because there is more space for them. In "Fishdom 2" the background-only area began relatively close to the front of the screen and no decorations could be put there. Now there's much available space in some parts of the background too. Another welcome feature is that pieces can be resized. No more worrying that they will be hardly visible in the background - you can make them bigger if you want to.
The tank now also becomes less crowded in terms of fish living there. The cup system has been completely revamped. The comfort bar has been removed. Now you can feed the fish and clean the tank manually (and get some points for it), but no more buying of equipment such as water pumps, feeder, filter... It also means that now cups are awarded for beauty only - a certain amount of decorations with the right amount of beauty points. The number of fish doesn't count. The number of fish which can live in one tank increases after consecutive cups are won, but I think it looks better anyway with just a small group of fish - even though buying each fish also gives experience points and a few experience points are gained for feeding each one. Cups also don't give any direct bonus - only some experience points are awarded for winning a cup. As a result, now I care much less about cups. My primary goal is to get all eight aquariums available and decorated as soon as possible, but it may take much time anyway...
Playing strategy during levels also changes a lot because of two big changes: introduction of experience points and elimination of level score. That's right - no points for levels, only coins. Time now has much influence on money gained, so playing in relaxed mode (without timer) is a bad idea. However, since no "level points" are won, the best strategy is to rush through a level. In "Fishdom 2" I often left one or two fields uncompleted and started trying to detonate as many explosives as possible because it was an efficient way to get more points. Now you can still use explosives, but they only help finish a level sooner, they don't yield points because there is no score... It's not a bad idea because it eliminates the conflict between a better score for more matches and a higher bonus for less time spent on a level.
The game has some extra features such as achievements (which don't, for example, yield any experience points anyway) and bonus levels with some slightly twisted ideas. Less money is won in bonus levels (typically about 2-2,5 times less than in regular levels), but the best part about it is that you can keep replaying them several times. So it's a nice source of quick virtual cash...

The Bad

The game progresses very slowly. While I appreciate some aspects of the revamp, progress becomes too slow at some point. As before, you gradually start winning more virtual money - for example, bonuses increase based on current experience level. But still it lags behind the sharp increase in amount of money required to buy some late introductions. If I remember well, 8000 coins are needed to buy a fourth tank, 12000 to buy a fifth, 16000 for a sixth... and it doesn't even include the price of a new background! Prices of fish and decorations spike as well. Yes, I know very little about real-life fishkeeping - perhaps clownfish are common and a royal gramma is rare and thus expensive to keep in a private aquarium - but this spike seems just too sharp. As if it was only to make the game harder and more nasty... Which is probably the case anyway... But it means that the game drags on because after some time more and more money - and, as a result, more and more time - is required to get all the decorations.
Each experience level also becomes longer as the game progresses. Earlier quite a small number of points was needed to advance, now it takes about 2000 experience points or more to advance to a new level. And while feeding fish and cleaning aquarium both yield some points, now it's just a drop compared to the amount needed... So I just play level after level after level to buy some nice big decorations which will get me one experience level forward...
Another thing I dislike is the fact that before an item is unlocked, you have no information about how much will it cost once it becomes available. It's not very comfortable, makes planning and expecting more complicated.

The Bottom Line

Gameplay has been somewhat simplified in comparison to previous Fishdom releases, but now it takes even more time. So, as in the title - be prepared that it may take much time to get all decorations you want. Even if I decided that I just don't like some of them very much and won't bother to buy all available decorations for each aquarium style (by the way, if you want to, you can "mix" them and add decorations made for a different style to a particular tank - for example, Public Beach and Tropical Paradise tanks seem quite compatible), a lot of money and a lot of experience levels gained is required to get some decorations I want. And you will see how much time I needed to get all of them by the time which passes between the moment of adding the game (after one day of playing it; I'm writing this review another day later) and the moment of adding screenshots...