Freddi Fish and Luther's Water Worries
Description official description
In Water Worries, you play Luther, a young green fish who gets sucked into a whirlpool and must find his way out. Luther's search will eventually take him through 100 underwater levels jam-packed full of action and adventure.
On the way home, Luther will need to be aware of the hazards around him, while picking up worm doodles which will allow him to advance further. Bubbles, which are constantly rising from deep within the whirlpool, will force the water level down if they are allowed to reach the water's surface.
If the water level becomes too low, Luther will have to retry the level, minus one energy level. To prevent this from happening, Luther must use his trusty slingshot and unlimited supply of ammo to pop the bubbles before they reach the surface.
Luther also needs to be careful when navigating the whirlpool, since running into a bubble may render him momentarily trapped and unable to fire his slingshot.
- Рыбка Фредди и Загадка бурлящей воды - Russian spelling (Akella)
- Рыбка Фредди и Тайна Океана - Russian spelling (Russobit-M)
Credits (Windows version)
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|Lead Ink & Paint|
|Ink & Paint|
|[ full credits ]|
Average score: 80% (based on 1 ratings)
Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 7 ratings with 1 reviews)
Humongous Entertainment certainly had a strange fondness for giving Freddi Fish shoot 'em ups. Two of them were already available as minigames in her first adventures. And now that the time has come to give her the Junior Arcade treatment, she naturally had to be given another one.
As usual for an early Junior Arcade, the soundtrack is amazing. Once again, Jeremy Soule knocks it out of the park with yet another set of wonderful, dreamlike tunes. It really is far too good an effort for a game like this.
Let's not beat around the bush any longer. Aside from the soundtrack, this game is not enjoyable in any way whatsoever.
To be fair, the gameplay this time around has some unconventional ideas. You use the mouse to freely move Luther around in all directions, though he can generally only shoot to the right. Your primary targets are countless bubbles rising to the surface. If they make it there, they'll slowly fill the top of the screen with air, gradually reducing the playing field until it confines Luther to the very bottom, forcing him to leave and lose a life. That's why you need to shoot as many of these bubbles as you can in order to slow down the rate at which the water level drops. In order to clear a level, you need to pay special attention to bubbles carrying worm doodles. Once you've eaten enough of those, you win. Nonsensical physics aside (you can't actually pop underwater bubbles in real life), it's a rather innovative take on the genre.
But innovation means nothing when the execution doesn't deliver, and that's where the game falls flat on its face.
For one, this game offers little in the way of a challenge. The rate at which the water level drops is so low that you can usually beat levels with plenty of room to spare. I'm not even all that good at this game, having made countless embarrassing mistakes throughout my entire playthrough. But even I never lost a single one of the approximately 40 lives I had by the end, though I came close on a few occasions.
Yet at the same time, it may be for the best that the game is so easy. If it were harder, it would become more apparent just how unfair many of its mechanics are. Such as the existence of an invisible stamina meter. If you shoot for too long, Luther will get exhausted and enter a dreadfully long cooldown period during which he can usually do basically nothing. So you really want to prevent that from happening. Yet I never quite got the hang of just how long Luther can last and how quickly he recovers. But Luther also enters a cooldown period whenever he touches a large bubble. Those don't last as long, but tend to happen all the time. Especially when trying to collect something that's already near the ground. It's just not possible to react quickly enough when a large bubble suddenly pops up below it. It was a really bad idea in particular to render Luther unable to even collect items during cooldown periods. If he could, at least your dives for falling items wouldn't be for nothing if a large bubble got in your way.
As the game goes on, it introduces various hazards unleashed when shooting bubbles with a red edge. But most of those are fairly inconsequential. The dynamite in particular barely causes any harm. And I don't even know what the orange sponge-like thing does because it's so easy to dodge I never touched one. Chances are, it just triggers another cooldown period. The only legitimate hazard is the jellyfish. It remains on the screen for an extremely long period of time, all the while blocking your shots and punishing careless movement with yet more really lengthy cooldown periods. And the game introduces these guys really early, so you have to deal with them for most of the game. I found that while it usually wasn't worth being careful not to shoot hazard bubbles, this resulted in a really unpleasant experience on the infrequent occasions where I got unlucky enough to have jellyfish spawn all over the place.
The scoring system is pretty busted as well. Your primary sources of points are shooting small bubbles and picking up sea urchins. Both of which require you to often move pretty far to the right. Which will frequently result in you missing out on numerous bubbles to the left, including some with worm doodles, seeing how you can't shoot in their direction and would probably get trapped in one of them if you tried quickly moving back left. You can also get plenty of points and extra lives in the bonus levels, but the letters you need to collect to enter them tend to spawn so slowly, you'd have to delay the current level's conclusion just to get them all. And they're just not the risk of being hit by yet more large bubbles while trying to collect them. But what really breaks the scoring system completely is that it doesn't reward you for clearing levels with a high water level. If you really wanted to maximize your score, you could drag out levels on purpose, only completing them when the water level is near the bottom, thus allowing you to score lots of additional points before that point. But you'd have to be a masochist to deliberately extend the game's duration by such a huge extent.
Even if you don't do that, the game is already way too long for its own good. A game with this little variety and this little strategy to it really has no right to consist of 100 levels of ever-increasing length. The stakes barely get any higher as the game goes on, seeing how its only genuinely dangerous hazard is introduced so early. While Balloon-o-Rama, Dog on a Stick and Nuggets were also all games that eventually outstayed their welcome, they at least offered some variety with distinct level designs. This game's levels are just the same lethargic experience over and over again.
As far as extra modes go, the game actually offers a two player mode via hot seat. The second player gets to play the same levels as Freddi with their own score and life counter. But to me, that sounds like the perfect way to make an already bad game even worse. It's already overextended and boring enough as it is. Why would you want to double the play time and spend half the time watching someone else play?
There's also an endless survival mode that gradually adds more elements to it as it progresses. Judging by my low ranking on its high score list, I presume the developers expected most players to last far longer than me, but I'm not going to spend any more time trying to find the optimal strategy. The game just isn't worth that.
Unlike past Junior Arcades, there isn't a level editor, but that's hardly surprising, given how little level design matters here.
The Bottom Line
This is the first genuine flop among Humongous' lineup. While I've been a bit harsh on some of their earlier games as well, I could at least see how they may have been pretty enjoyable at the time of their release. On the other hand, this game's flaws can't be excused by it having aged poorly. Even by the standards of its time, it's just a really dull and poorly designed shoot 'em up. If you know how to extract it, you can have a great time listening to the game's soundtrack. It sounds much better when it's not being drowned out by the cacophony of the game's rather overdone and repetitive sound effects and voice clips. Alternatively, if you're someone like me who really wants to experience everything the company ever made, then I guess you'll have to suffer through this game regardless of its quality. If neither applies, stay far away. I doubt even children would be kept entertained by it for very long.
Windows · by SomeRandomHEFan (164) · 2020
- MobyGames ID: 20988
- Steam App: 294580
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Dave Timoney.
Game added January 29th, 2006. Last modified July 16th, 2023.