I was quite excited about this. I got a message asking if I’d like to cover a preview of a game that isn’t even on steam yet, a game with a press pack and an embargo and all the exciting stuff that makes you think ‘hang on, have I got something a bit special here?’
Billed as a ‘deep-sea psychological thriller’, Iron Fish sees you take the role of Cerys Harley, an oceanographer contracted to an elite naval group, who as been called in to investigate some mysterious disturbances to sea life. Maybe not as riveting as I first thought…
Iron Fish is an interesting proposition none-the-less, a collaboration between London-based Developers Beefjack and the man with the idea, Blackpool based game designer Dean Edwards. Edwards approached Beefjack with the idea, and quite rightly they saw something unique and with something different to offer.
The press pack makes a point that the preview doesn’t really include any of the psychological or terror elements, but want’s to give you a bit of a taste of the action deep under the sea. I get the idea, I like the premise, but I found this game both infuriating and dull in equal measure.
I’ll start with the infuriating.
I played the game with a controller, it’s just the way I like to game. I found the controls sluggish and unresponsive, there are times when you’re out of your sub, swimming around collecting files. There are sharks. Got a harpoon? Naah! Knife? Naah! Ok so we can be stealthy? Kinda. The press pack gives you the hint to stay out of open water, duly noted. But when you do encounter a shark, you have one attack, punch. That punch itself is sluggish, as it should be I suppose, it’s under water. But the speed at which you can turn to punch your aquatic attacker is also sluggish, so you’re bitten once, even twice before you get to take that slow swing.
Then there’s the getting anywhere. The Sub. Oh the Sub. It looks interesting-ish. steering is a bit odd and movement feels a bit too one directional for a small ship / craft / vehicle (I don’t know the correct terminology) that is suspended in water.you have turning… left and right, not up and down, and then you have ascend, descend, accelerate and decelerate, it felt a bit too linear.
The swimming control, totally the opposite, aside from the lack of ability to swim faster when needed at the cost of some oxygen or something.
Visually, there was one thing in the sub that was missing… Cerys. You look down, no feet, no body, just a chair.
Sound wise, the underwater sounds were great, and really added to the flow of the swimming outside the Sub, however there was a SOUND. A sound that wouldn’t go away. I don’t know if it was a beacon somewhere or supposed to be the sound of the pressure that deep, but it got SO INFURIATING that I had to turn the sound off while playing.
The preview mission was solely a collection task, which while giving me a look at the world the developers have created, didn’t really engage me, but, with this being a preview build, there is, I’m certain more to come from Iron Fish, and I’ll be looking into it again when it’s released.
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided with a copy of Iron Fish for preview purposes. The title was previewed over the course of 5 days. For more information on our reviews policy, click here.