Who’s going to save a poor Blowfish when he begins inflating too much (in the process putting him at risk of floating away from the ocean itself, which the Blowfish basically needs to survive)? If you said take control of nearby friendly squid, whom can somehow breathe outside of water, and use them to push the Blowfish back to safety — using what appears to be powerful jets of toxic gas — then you certainly have a weird sense of logic. However — should you such a thing sound like fun — then you just might want to take a look at Blowfish Rescue (out now, free), the rather weird — yet actually fun — physics based puzzle-game recently debuted by the inventive folks over at Noctua Software.
The controls for this game are a bit hard to explain as the many situations contained within involve numerous context specific inputs, but I’ll attempt to cover the basics of how Blowfish Rescue is controlled all the same.
Touching a squid will cause him to blast forth a torrent of ink (or at least that’s what their website claims it is), which will be your primary means of pushing around all of the hapless Blowfish present. It should be mentioned that hitting a Blowfish dead on with the ink stream with have a far different effect than blasting them with the ink stream’s edge (which — true to physics — will actually push them to the side). Furthermore — by holding multiple squid at the same time — you can even utilize simultaneous streams when trying to push Blowfish around, and the streams will even realistically impact off each other.
Although the squids will usually be locked solidly in place, there will be — on some stages — dotted rails upon which you may freely drag them about whenever you’re touching them. There will sometimes be solid blocks — also placed on rails — that you may freely drag about, and quickly moving them will even cause anything perched on top — such as a Blowfish — to be flung upwards as a result. Still other items will exist that you won’t have the power to directly move about, yet can easily be manipulated through indirect means (such as rotating a turnstile by assaulting it with a squid’s relentless inky torrent).
While it might sound like it’s just a simple job of jostling a Blowfish around until you finally send him safely back to his pond, there’s actually numerous hazards littered across most of Blowfish Rescue’s stages. You’ll have to avoid spikes that pop up and down, deadly spinning saw blades, flying off the edge of the world itself, electrical traps (that can be turned both off an on by slamming into a switch), as well as many other things. Which is to say nothing of the landmines that detonate upon being tapped; although they don’t harm the Blowfish directly, they do send them flying whenever they explode (and thus have to be used very carefully, since only a full stage reset will ever restore them).
Since merely getting all of the Blowfish safely to their pond (water bucket?) would make for a fairly short and uninteresting affair, each stage additionally contains three stars — often in precarious spots — that are gathered up by moving a Blowfish over top of them. Not only that, but a fourth star may furthermore be earned on each level for successfully completing the entire affair within a target time frame (which — as one might expect — generally allows for very little wiggle room). Trying to master each one of Blowfish Rescue’s tricky levels — such that you can simultaneously accomplish both of these goals — will greatly extend your playtime, as well as sometimes drive you positively bonkers.
Although not one of the actions you’ll perform — assuming you happen to be over ten years old — will truly make a single iota of sense, Blowfish Rescue is still a lot of fun. While your actions may seem to defy all sense of logic and physics, the game thankfully always handles itself in an utterly consistent manner (which is important, as inconsistent physics are often the bane of physics-based puzzle games). Furthermore, the jet blasts being shot off by the squids — which doesn’t really look all that much like ink — is still a mesmerizing sight to behold thanks to the in-depth real-time fluid-physics being utilized.
Further making Blowfish Rescue a rather easy choice to grab is the fact that the game is being offered entirely for free, with nary an IAP — intrusive or otherwise — to be found anywhere at all. Noctua Software has instead chosen to support Blowfish Rescue entirely via the occasional ad, which currently seems to mean an ad for HBO after you’ve plowed through a handful of levels. So get out there right now and save those poor Blowfish before they remain out of the water for too long, because — as everyone clearly knows — breathing outside of the water is obviously the proper domain of friendly squids instead.
iFanzine Verdict: Although the game might not always make sense if you think about it for too long, Blowfish Rescue is still an excellent — and often visually mesmerizing — physics-based puzzle game that can be obtained for the low-low price of 100% free!