Recently, we've seen a bit of a mini-renaissance of quality casual releases set underwater, defying the conventional wisdom that games get terrible when they go down the drain. Fisher Diver, an action game by Eli Piilonen, keeps the quality but darkens the tone. On its surface, it's a retro-styled fishing game about a little ball that hopes to follow in its father's profession. However, like the ocean, there are some unsettling things to be found below the surface.
Fisher Diver is played with a combination of the mouse and keyboard. Use the [WASD] or [arrow] keys to swim, dive and surface and the mouse to jut a spear. Wound a fish enough, and you can collect it for cash: the larger and more complete it is, the more will be awarded, but the bigger they are the more they'll fight back. Also to collect are Guffins/Messages: when pulsing, a hit of the [spacebar] will direct you to one if it's in range. Cash and Guffins are traded in the store for upgrades. Watch the meter on the right to make sure that you have enough oxygen. It can be refilled by returning to the surface. Good luck with your new career and the thrill of the hunt.
It's kind of flummoxing. This is a fishing game: a game in which someone catches fish and sells them in order to purchase equipment to catch more fish. Why then will it likely be more disturbing than 90% of the horror games that will be released come Halloween time? Is it the visual and music design that's reminiscent of a twisted version of flOw? Is it the mechanical wire-framey fish contrasted with their all-too-organic-looking blood? Is it the oxygen black-out and that one bone-cracking sound effect? (You'll know it when you hear it.) Who knows, but Fisher Diver does a better job of turning one off sea food than a thousand PETA ads. There's something grimly ethereal and compelling here. While it takes a while to get going, and has the same problems of repetition that the real-life hobby does, Fisher Diver is a stylistic splash of cold water to the face.