Fish Party from Microgaming is a no-frills, standard slot. Every slot game needs a theme, and this one apparently, is marine life, as displayed by the string of unsuccessful ‘Finding Nemo’ inspired characterisations.
It’s a lifeless, mundane slot that makes no attempt at flashiness. Winning lines flash – no animations or explanatory lines here and, apart from the occasional burst of steel drums and whistles, vaguely attempting to deliver a ‘tropical’ sound when you win, the music sounds like repetitive fairground music – some kind of sped-up waltz. It even duplicates some winning effects found in other Quickfire slots. It’s hardly a party that I’d want to attend – fishy or otherwise. The fish symbols themselves are cute enough, but they’d certainly benefit from blinking eyes, escaping bubbles, waving fins or some form of micro-animation just to drive a bit of heightened engagement.
The layout is fairly straight forward, if somewhat small in places – The info and sound options particularly are very small. It also took me a while to locate the ‘Gamble’ button – blue on a blue background is not the smartest option.
However, I appreciate that there are many players who enjoy a basic, no-nonsense slot. I agree that there are times you just want to ‘play’ and get straight into the wager, but I still expect some level of themery that would resonate with some players.
But a theme based around cartoon fish? The only mainstream media I can think of is ‘Finding Nemo’, ‘Sharky and George’, and to a certain degree Spongebob – none of which I would expect to appeal to anyone over the age of 18, gambler or not…
The flipside of course that I’ve totally lost touch with trend and millions of gamers are lapping this up as we speak.
We know that a theme isn’t everything and even games with a weak presentation can succeed through a solid underlying game. Fish Party is joining the craze to provide the 243-ways/Anyways pays feature. I’ll be honest I do like anyways pays games, spending far too much time gaming in the traditional and casual sectors has made me accustomed to simple pattern matching – this is one of the few things it has going for it. Fish Party offers cumulative freespins, wilds and a gamble option. Freespins are gained when you receive three or more scatter symbols – just about the only animation you’ll find here. The more scatter symbols showing, the more freespins you receive. Wild symbols act as any paying symbol except for scatters, but during the review period, they were fairly infrequent, as if they’d snuck out of the party early – I envy them.
If you receive a winning spin, you may decide to gamble it by clicking on the ‘gamble’ button that appears above the ’spin’ icon. Choosing it takes you to a sub-game, allowing you to stake your winnings against a simple turn of a card. Choose either Red or Black to double your money, or the correct suit to quadruple it. It’s the standard gamble feature that you find across many different slots, but at least they have coordinated it somewhat by adding the game logo on the back of the cards (a particular bugbear of mine with other slots). It’s not unique in any way. Wilds, freespins and a generic gamble game. There are multitude of identical slots out there. The one area that Fish Party is strong is the maths profile. The hit rate is quite low meaning the game probably has high volatility. Wins seem to always exceed payouts with no penny pays or stinker pays, so that when the wins come, they are big.
I like highly volatile games, however I lost interest after about five spins (once I’d seen all the symbols), never a good thing when you’re performing a review and playtest. There was a slight peak when I hit three scatters, but the freespin sub-game, was just more of the same. I missed the ‘Gamble’ game at first, but soon became indifferent when I realised it was the same old ‘pick a card’ option.
Quickfire’s Fish Party will appeal to some players. It’s a straight-forward slots game, but I’m sure that even die-hard fish lovers will soon be clicking for other gaming options. The theme has no meaning outside of it’s own existence and the party… well, that was well hidden from my eyes.
Winning lines are infrequent, but generous – no penny payouts here. In fact, during the 250 RT Test, I won over 1300 coins on one spin in regular play and over 900 in the solitary free spin feature.