Slap That Fish by Peter Nepstad

Well, this was certainly weird. From the person who brought us 1893: A World’s Fair Mystery, one of the few commercial IF works of the last decade, and an excellent game in its own right, comes a game which I assumed at first was a joke entry. In fact, if the game had been entered anonymously, or the author was unknown to me, I’d have given up after five minutes, labelled it a ‘joke entry’ and not given it a second thought. Knowing the author, I persevered with this for a while longer, wondering (hoping actually) if there was a proper game here and the beginning was deliberately bad for some obscure reason which would be made clear later on. Twenty minutes later, I reached the conclusion that I’d have been better off quitting after five minutes and leaving things at that.

The premise is just downright strange. You’re attacked by a fish and have to defend yourself by slapping it into submission. That’s pretty much the aim of the entire game. You defeat one fish, and another takes its place. You defeat this one, and another steps in. And so on. You take damage during combat and end up having to frequently WAIT to regain your stamina. (Your opponent, for some reason, doesn’t attack you while you’re waiting or even arming yourself with weapons. Though they’re intending to kill you for some reason which is never made clear, they’re still perfectly willing to let you arm yourself and not do a thing about it. They also don’t regenerate stamina in the way you do which is nice.) Then when you’re feeling strong enough, you start slapping the fish some more.

That’s pretty much the game in a nutshell. I defeated several different varieties of fish, I levelled up, I found myself a new weapon… and I began to wonder if there was some point to the game that I was missing. Was there something other to do than simply slapping fish that attack me? In desperation I checked the walkthrough. No, seems there’s nothing else to do. The walkthrough lists a whole number of fish that come to give you grief and you have to defeat. If there’s anything further on in the game (like a proper storyline for instance), the walkthrough gives no indication of it.

If you’re in for some bizarreness, you might like this. I didn’t. I kept wishing I was playing 1893 instead.

2 out of 10