With a name like Carps & Dragons, it’s tough to guess exactly what type of game you’ll be playing. However accurate the guesses you come up with though, it’s safe to say you’ll still be surprised by this fun little game with a simple concept and addicting gameplay. The basic premise in Carps & Dragons is that you are a happy old fisherman, out to catch some fish with his trusty net. You can choose to play as either Jack or Walter, both impressively cliched guys who fit right in with the upbeat banjo music in the background. You can also choose whether your fisherman is left or right handed, which changes which side his net scoops from.
Each stage is a timed rush to get enough points to make it to the next level. Rather than going with just one time per level though, each stage is actually broken into three parts, each with their own time allowance and point threshold to be met. In order to gain those points, you obviously have to capture the fish that jump and twist through the air with your net. The fish come in a variety of colors, with each color signifying a different point level. For instance, the green fish are the lowest, coming in at just fifty points each. Yellow fish net you 150 points, and red fish are worth 250 points. There are also several special fish that earn you even more points per catch.
To make things more interesting, there are a variety of native wildlife who don’t care so much for you grabbing all of the fish, and you’ll have to both avoid their clutches while quickly catching those fish if you want to make it to the next levels. These range from bloodthirsty sharks to high kicking rats to hopping frogs. There are even flame breathing dragons, and all of these do a lot to distract you from your fish catching goals, to say the least. Get caught in any of their clutches, and you’ll need to quickly press left and right to free yourself, lest you run out of time. Wildlife aren’t the only things standing between you and your tuna dinner – bombs often fly through the air along with the fish, making it hard to snatch any fish without ending up in flames.
In addition to the Arcade mode, players can mix up the fish catching action in two different ways. Challenge mode offers a variety of different ways to challenge yourself. Each square in the challenge mode grid represents a different challenge. Challenges range from things like catching a certain number of a certain color of fish, to capturing a number of different fish avoiding others, to capturing all of a certain type of fish. Some of the challenges are timed; some are not, but they offer a good way to home your skills and some fun quick play.
The final mode available was a favorite. Titled “Fishtris”, it’s pretty much what it sounds like. You try to capture the fish in color groups, which fill up a column on the right hand side of the screen. Get three or more in a color, and the fish will disappear. Stack up too many without making a chain, and it’s game over for you. If you do get in a bind, there is something that can save your butt at the last minute – one type of fish will eat all the fish in your column, if you’re lucky enough to nab him before you run out of time. Like the Arcade mode, you’re working with a timer and three point thresholds in Fishtris, but making huge chains of one colors make reaching your points goals both challenging and fun.
Carps & Dragons is a surprisingly addicting game that is both challenging and loads fun. It’s colorful; the music is upbeat, catchy, and perfectly suited to the theme; and it’s completely suitable for all ages. With a relatively simple premise and loads of twists to keep you engaged, Carps & Dragons is a game that’s tough to put down.