Gameplay (3 out of 5)
Fishdom is similar in many respects to other match-three games. Each level has a board filled with gold or silver blocks. Match at least three pieces and you’ll eliminate the gold blocks underneath . Silver blocks require two matches. Some blocks are locked, and they’ll require even more effort. There are plenty of power-ups for making larger matches and you can use the dynamite, bombs, and lightning to clear large portions of the board.
When a level is complete, you’ll earn a time bonus for time left on the clock. Use your winnings to custom-create your own virtual fish tank. Choose which fish to include and select plants, sunken treasure, and accessories such as a filter or fish food dispenser. Three special meters (fish, beauty, comfort) show your progress on creating an ideal tank. Once they’re maximized you’ll unlock a new tank. You can either continue with the same tank, or move to the new one.
Unfortunately, the unique aspects of the game don’t make up for the fact that what starts out as fun ends up… boring. The power ups aren’t terribly exciting and you’ll probably see them all before you’ve completed the demo. Designing a fish tank is fun, but it takes playing several levels at a time to be able to afford just one of the premium objects. I just started asking, “Now what?” Never a good sign…
Graphics (5 out of 5)
The highlight of Fishdom is the graphics. Each level is played with your current fish tank in the background, and you can use your tanks as screen savers on your computer. Watching your virtual fish swim happily around in their tank is fun and the scenery is beautiful.
Fishdom requires a PC running Windows XP or Vista. You’ll need at least 600 Mhz CPU and 256 MB RAM. Fishdom takes up a mere 46 MB on your hard drive. The game has a small footprint on your hard drive and in your memory.
Overall (3 out of 5)
Fishdom has a lot of promise, but just doesn’t live up to the potential. If you absolutely love match-three games, you might want to buy this one. Otherwise, play the free demo. If you’re still having fun at the end of your hour, it may be a worthwhile investment.