Downstream Panic ReviewJason Leyanna
Apparently a tropical storm has sucked out the entire collection of fish from the oceans and it is up to the player to safely get them back, avoiding sharks and other dangerous objects…
It takes just a few minutes to figure out what you are supposed to be doing, then it clicks in this strategy game. It starts off pretty simple and gets harder as you go, and more complicated and complex. Basically, you use tools and other objects within the game to direct your fish toward a path that is both safe and allows passage back to the sea.
There are ‘tools’ that you use during each level to attempt to get your fish to go down the right path unscathed. You may use a harpoon to kill a larger, deadlier fish. Plants can be used and automatically grow to block off a certain path for the fishies. There are also ‘smart’ – as they don’t kill your fish – bombs that blow up small areas and allow the fish to go down another path that would otherwise be impassable. Other tools include the fan, freezer, and fishing net. The tools can be alternated using the two trigger buttons once you are able to utilize more than one in the level.
Adventure mode is what you start off in and then you unlock survival mode and free play. The levels also have different items strewn within such as seashells, clouds, ice bridges, flowers, and black holes that suck water in and transport it somewhere else. The variance in items helps give something new and unique when going from level to level. Downstream Panic includes over 80 diverse levels that feature spring, summer, fall, winter, and inferno environments.
The environments, while they might not be as amazing graphically as some games, Downstream Panic has a nice array of vivid colors. There is a bright yellow sun that has put on its smiley face. The fish themselves and other creatures are in varied colors. The varied colorful levels along with the various challenges keep things fresh.
The game prompts you to save after each completed level, which gets a little bothersome if you are beating levels at a decent clip. An autosave features would have been preferable compared to what is given. This is a small annoyance compared to the enjoyment of the rest of the gameplay.
One unique feature of Downstream Panic is the ability to speed up time. If you have successfully used your ‘tools’ to create the correct path to send your fish to safety, there is the option to speed up time and get going to the next level faster. This action is taken by pressing the Triangle button. If you are the impatient type, this is definitely a nice addition.
Nice job on this unique creation by developer Eko System, and publisher, Atari. Downstream Panic is a surprisingly fun game for such a small package. Navigating the fish to their safe destination is a challenge that is quite enjoyable. This strategy game is fun for all ages.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.