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A Real Time Game...
I am a big fan of Yahoo! Games and of any tycoon game that comes out. I try to at least play the free trial, even if I don't buy the game afterward. So, as I was scrolling through some of the tycoon games on Yahoo! Games, I came across Fish Tycoon. At first, I didn't think that it would be a game that I would want to play, but I played the online version for a bit and found that it was actually pretty fun. I did some research online about the game and I found a few secrets and cheats to use which made the game so much easier... but actually a bit less fun. (I'll share these cheats at the end of this review.) So, to let you know what you should expect when you play Fish Tycoon.
Game Basics - Ok, so there is actually a story line to this PC game, and you are a fish shop owner who is searching for the 8 magic fish of the island of Isola. Your mission in the game is to find these fish, so you must breed different types of fish together until you find all 8 magic fish. In the meantime, you also have to keep your fish alive and sell fish so that you can purchase the items that you need to raise fish that require more maintenance. Here is the catch to this PC game: it is a real-time game. This means that when you breed the fish, they actually take an hour to hatch and several hours to grow up into big fish. During this time, you have to make sure that they are fed and taken care of. To help you with this, the game can be set to become your screen saver, which I personally thought was a cool feature, so you can always check in with your fish.
Graphics - I actually think that the graphics in this game are pretty well done. The only part that is not up to par is the shop and the people. When you are looking at the fish and the aquariums, everything flows together smoothly and the fish are beautifully colored and detailed. Even the fish that have large, fan-like fins have a natural movement in their fins that they would have in real life. This makes the fish believable, even those that look really odd. But, when you head into the shop, the people and the graphics here look like they are from the ancient '80s of the old Nintendo and Atari. The people are really squared off, their legs do not move at all, and they jerk around the shop until they decide to buy a fish. I would hope that in future versions the designers will take the time to actually make this part of the game better, as it really stinks right now.
Easy or Hard - Well, if you have not researched the game or you do not know any of the cheats, then this game can get frustrating and hard. Since you have to maintain the fish in a real time environment, you have to be constantly checking on them and ensuring that they are fed. So how do you do this when you are away from your computer? Are you chained to it now because you bought this game? Nope... there is actually a simple cheat that you can use to ensure that your fish flourish. Here is what you do: You feed all of the fish and take care of them until they are up to full health. Then, breed the fish that you want to breed together. Now, you close out the game, and open your computer's time and date information (normally you can just double click on the time at the bottom right of your screen.). Once it is open, you set it ahead 2 hours - yes, 2. Now, reopen the game and you will have baby fish and some that are already big. Feed them all again up to full health, and breed the fish again. Now, close it again and reset your computer clock ahead 2 more hours. Open the game again and boom! You have grown fish that you can sell and more baby fish. You can do this as much as you want to so that you can gain the fish you want before you have to shut down for the day or night. When you are ready to leave your computer for a while, then you want to set your computer back a few hours before the normal time. This way, the game already thinks that you have kept the fish fed and healthy! Easy cheese....
Making Money - On the online version, you are not able to do this to keep your fish healthy and alive. But, when you close the game out, it will remember where you left off, which is good. But, here is the cheat to get all the money you could want in the online version: play as normal, but set one fish's price to $999,999 (or as many 9's as you can fit in the slot). The first couple of customers won't even look at your fish or they will buy the others but not this one. But, within just a few minutes you'll get someone in the shop that will buy that fish and you'll have all the money you need. The problem is that now your money is locked to that highest amount, and you can not purchase all of the items since some are locked until you buy the game.
To make money on the paid version, you will have to breed your fish until you get one of the magic fish that you can easily breed to make several of at one time. One of the best ways to do this is to always breed your magic fish in the tank with the first magic fish that the game gives you (which gives your fish the chance to produce 2 fish instead of only 1). Make sure that you never sell this fish - it is priceless! When you get several of the magic fish that you can sell for $60-80, then you breed and sell them so that you can easily make a ton of cash right away to get the automatic feeders that you need to help keep your fish alive.
Overall, the game is fun to play. The screensaver mode is cool to have on your computer and it is a good game for both kids an adults. I rate this game a 3.5 out of 5, only because the graphics in the shop mode drag the game down. Happy fishing!