Fish Heroes Hands-On Preview

Craneballs may not be one of the App Store’s best-known indie developers, but ever since we played Blimp and Monorace, two of their finest games, we’ve been big fans. Other Craneballs fans out there will want to know all about Fish Heroes, a 3D physics puzzler that plays a bit like Angry Birds underwater.

In Fish Heroes, you have to slingshot one type of animal (friendly fish) into another (mean sharks). While this sounds like yet another Angry Birds-like premise, the 3D levels make a huge difference. Like in the game Save Toshi, you can spin around each level to find the best viewpoint.

Instead of a tap-to-shoot mechanic like in Save Toshi, Fish Heroes offers a more tactical approach to the controls. You operate your slingshot by pulling back on an icon in the lower-right. This will bring up an aiming reticule, which you can use to hone in on your shark targets. Let go, and your fish will go flying.

You start off with clownfish, which are just simple projectiles, but later on you’ll be able to use heavy whales and inflatable pufferfish to cause mayhem. Inflating the pufferfish is especially fun, because they swell up and knock over nearby blocks, like some kind of biological bomb.

Some of your special attacks mirror those in Angry Birds, like a school of fish that separates into individual fish, or a piranha that boosts forward with a button press. While this shows a slight lack of creativity, the cube-shaped characters are quite cute.

If you thought Angry Birds Space was the height of physics puzzling, Fish Heroes will feel like a surprising 3D evolution. After playing it, we’re going to try spinning every puzzle game to get a better view. Fish Heroes will be available on the App Store in June.