Fish Tycoon for Palm OS5

Reviewed by: Lianne Reitter, August 2004, send e-mail
Published by: LDW Software, go to the web site
Requires: High resolution color, Palm OS 5.0 or later; 1.3MB system memory
MSRP: US$19.95

In the continuing quest to re-establish the flora and fauna on the legendary Island of Isola, LDW Software brings you Fish Tycoon. Previously, we conquered the task of returning the many species of plant life to the island in LDW's excellent Plant Tycoon. The quest was to re-discover each extinct plant species by cultivating the few rare seeds available, and then nourish, breed and cross breed the successful plants in order to reach the final goal of discovering the 7 magical plants of Isola in order to win the game.

In this installment, we let loose a few common Isola fish eggs into an aquarium. Our task is to care for them: feed them, medicate the sick and watch them grow and mature into the lost species of the Island of Isola. As with Plant Tycoon’s 7 magical plants, the ultimate goal in Fish Tycoon is to re-discover the 7 magical fish of Isola. The only way to accomplish that is by breeding your fish stock and then experimenting with some crafty cross-breeding as your stock strengthens. These 7 aren't just any magical fish mind you. One will keep the rest of your fish healthy, while another can influence and mutate your eggs, giving you very unpredictable offspring. These 7 magical fish can also become instrumental in the success of your retail fish store. Yes that’s right, re-establishing the lost fish species of Isola is just part of this game, you must also run a successful retail store, selling off your precious Isola fish. The more successful your fish store, the more exotic fish eggs you can purchase, thereby widening the gene pool of your breeding program.

It’s a bit of a challenge too as just selling offspring won't get you far. You have to invest in advertising, additional tanks and their subsequent beautification. Purchasing upgrades to your aeration and filtration systems will help stave off illnesses like the dreaded “Ick” and make for a stronger healthier fish, ones you can ask a better price for once they are fully matured.

What makes Fish Tycoon even more of a challenge is that like Plant Tycoon it runs in real time even with your PDA turned off. Seed your tank, feed the baby fish and then get on with other business. But don't forget to check back from time to time or you will find yourself with a tank full of decomposing fish matter and a store devoid of paying customers. Thankfully, you can pause the game timer if you know you're going to be away from the game for a while.

Occasionally I would forget to pause the game when I turned in for the night and was greeted the following morning with a Tank of Death as I came to refer to it. Strangely enough this only added to the fun as I frantically fussed over and apologized to the survivors, feeding everyone and medicating those in need.

Fish Tycoon is no first person shooter or multi-player frag fest for your PDA. Fish Tycoon is as non-violent as it sounds and will help you peacefully wile away the rest of the summer hours as you tend to the task of re-establishing the fish of the once great Island of Isola.

These real time games are a hoot and LDW has mastered the genre on Palm OS. The game graphics are terrific and take full advantage of the excellent screens on the Palm Zire 71 and the Sony TH55 on which we played the game. We look forward to new releases and updates for Fish Tycoon as well as all new games from LDW and updates or ports of these games to Pocket PC. Highly recommended.

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