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Digital Trends Review: FETCH mixes a Pixar-like story with classic point-and-click adventuring

FetchiOS

Let’s face it: Mobile games aren’t exactly known for being narrative driven. Are you really all that concerned with what makes the birds in Angry Birds so angry? Are you invested in their plight, or do you just want to launch them at some poorly constructed buildings? Probably the latter, right? And that’s fine. Generally when you’re playing a game on your phone or tablet, it’s because you don’t have the time or attention that you would while sitting down in front of the TV or computer to play. You’re less immersed in a story and more distracted by an action. Mobile games are supposed to be time killers, but Big Fish Games wants to break that mold. It has a story to tell in Fetch, and it’s a story you will not want to miss playing through.

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Big Fish Games spared no expense when developing Fetch and it immediately shows. The visuals are not only stunningly gorgeous but are also stylized in such a way that makes it stand out from any other experience you’ve ever had on your iPad. Past games have shown us the graphical power of mobile devices, but few have ever created something so eye-catching. It’s color palette is so perfectly presented that every frame looks like it’s been hand-painted.

Equally as impressive in Fetch is the emphasis on story. You play as a young boy – also clearly the target demographic of this game, except gender neutral - who has been segregated from his beloved dog. The four-legged friend has fallen into the possession of malicious corporate robots and you must retrieve him, a task that will require you to take course on a pretty epic adventure. The story seems like it was picked up from a Pixar script that was never made because the morality is a little too straight forward. Good and evil can’t be drawn too much clearer than a boy and his dog versus heartless hunks of metal that work for a slimy megacorp. But that doesn’t make it any less worth telling.

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And tell a story, Fetch does. Though it’s billed as an action-adventure game, it might be best to approach Fetch as more of a point-and-click adventure with action interludes. After your dog is captured by a robot in a fire hydrant disguise, you take to the sewer to start your quest. From that point on, almost everything on screen becomes interactive. You can click on just about any part of the screen and have something occur, though it often doesn’t actually drive the story forward. Regardless, the animations are fun and pretty slick, never bogging down the game. They’re often an entertaining extra.

Of course, sometimes the sheer amount of interaction works against Fetch. There are moments that you are required to move to an object before interacting while others you can access at will. The lines on this are never really clearly drawn, which can make for the occasional confusion in figuring out what you’re supposed to do.

Throughout the majority of the game you’ll be trying to find arcade cabinets, which is where the action comes in. The games present different challenges to you and they play a lot like flash games you might have encountered during various bouts with boredom on the Internet. Never too difficult than a very basic puzzle, the arcade games break up the adventure aspects well enough, but they aren’t overly memorable. They exist just to spit out an item that you need to continue advancing the story. But that’s what we’re here for anyway.

Unless you’re an absolute completionist, Fetch will probably be a fairly short experience, no longer than, say, a kids movie. Really, that’s what the game is. It’s an interactive kid’s movie that you can hand off to a young’n and know it won’t frustrate them but will keep them more than occupied for an extended stretch of time. A full play through, especially for someone who has played a fair share of flash games and adventure titles, probably won’t top the ninety minute mark or so. Regardless of length, the storytelling and amazing artistry that are on display in Fetch makes it an experience well worth having. It’s not the best game you’ll ever play, but it might be the most memorable game you’ll encounter on the iPad.

Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/fetch-great-ios-game-big-fish-games/#ixzz2QGoAqydN

Kotaku – FETCH Review

Fetch Could Have Been an Animated Feature. Instead It’s an Utterly Charming iPad Game.

You could search the iTunes app store for days and not come close to finding a game with the charm and polish of Big FishGames’ Fetch. It’s an animated movie come to life, an adventure riddled with arcade action wrapped around a warm beating heart. It’s the story of a boy and his dog.

While I am not a dog owner, I understand the power of a yipping ball of fluff. Even in Fetch’s oddly-charming dystopian future a furry friend can grant hope and joy to a young boy, so when a robotic fire hydrant captures our young hero’s pal Bear, adventure must ensue.

The story of Fetch unfolds through animated cutscenes aimed at tugging the heartstrings of the young and young-at-heart alike. Remember the time we played fetch by the tree? Wouldn’t it be great if we could do that again? Oh wait, your dog has been stolen by evil corporate robots. You’d better go find him.

More than just pointing and clicking (though there is plenty of that here), Fetch offers action in the form of arcade mini-games played on actual arcade systems. The games themselves are simple casual fare, but in the context of a grand animated adventure they inject excitement into what might have been just a delightful walk with the odd button-press.

iPad News – all iPad in one place – Reviews Fetch

This Week’s App Store Editor’s Choice: Fetch

Fetch 4Every week, it seems like Apple has found the most innovative, unique, and interesting game ever. Then, the new Editor’s Choice spotlight comes out and it outshines the previous one. Last week, Apple gave us an amazing photo editing app. Repix is more than just a digital filter app. You can add effects to designated areas with stylus drawing controls.

This week, Apple spotlights a game like no other. What seems more like an animated feature than a video game, Fetch is an adventure that will draw you deep into its story while entertaining you with lighthearted humor, innovative gameplay, and detailed graphics.

Players control a spunky boy who is on a mission to save his dognapped best friend from the clutches of the evil Embark Industries. Along the way, rescue pups, collect dog tags, and reveal the truth behind Embark’s diabolical pet theft.

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As you move between scenes, you’ll be able to tap various objects in the background to see what will help you get to the next phase. There may be an obvious goal in one scene. For example, you may need to lower the water level in the sewer system. But, there are additional tasks you may not even realize you need to deal with until three scenes later, like rescuing a giant alligator.

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The game incorporates puzzle challenges like figuring out what level the water should be in order to raise a platform so you can grab a key that you need to unlock a cage. It also includes some fun arcade games that will help you advance in the game.

For example, one of the arcade games requires players to toss bombs at approaching pirate ships in order to earn coins that must be used later in the game to purchase items to help the boy get to the next scene.

The graphics of the game’s movement is on an epic level. For example, when the boy needs to drop down from a hanging rope, he will actually look down before making the jump.

Fetch 1The game comes with a high price tag. For some games, five dollars is really pushing the limits, but Fetch makes the premium price seem like a serious bargain. If you are a fan of casual adventure games with simple puzzle games, you’ll really fall for Fetch.

For its innovative gameplay, exciting graphics, and clever story, it is easy to see why Apple chose Fetch as this week’s App Store Editor’s Choice.

Arcade Sushi – Fetch Review

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Every once in a while I get to review a game that totally catches me off-guard. I usually try to keep expectations low so that I can properly gauge a game’s merits as objectively as I can. But with that said, I’m afraid I’m also guilty of knee-jerk judgments based on a game’s title and the handful of screenshots that the App Store offers for preview purposes. Most of the time, these snap judgments are right on the money. In Fetch’s case? Well … I was ass-backwards wrong.

Sure, I thought the art from the preview screenshots looked cool, but I was expecting nothing more than a title filled with mini-games that would be fun distractions. I was expecting mediocre fare at a fairly premium price of $4.99. Instead, what I found was an immensely satisfying title with all of the heart of a Pixar film and the interactivity of an old-school adventure game from the days of Sierra.

At it’s heart, Fetch is the story of a boy searching for his missing dog. Strange forces are afoot in this world, which results in our tiny hero’s dog, Lucky, being dognapped by some nefarious robots. What ensues is an adventure across parts unknown to retrieve a boy’s best friend.

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The artwork in this game is gorgeous. The environments are so detailed and lush that even the sewers look like a mysterious world that’s meant to be explored. Peppered throughout each screen are points of interactivity that help broaden the experience and let players know more about both the story and the world around them. All you have to do is tap around on the different objects to have the boy use them or pick them up.

See a skull on the floor? Tap on it and then watch it chatter around and flap its jaw. See some bubbles rising out of the muck in the sewers? Pop those bad boys and be rewarded with that gratifying onomatopoeic sound. There’s plenty to touch and you’re welcome to explore, especially since a lot of puzzles need to be solved by interacting with the environment.

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Thankfully, the puzzles aren’t very taxing and never slow down the story or get you stuck. In fact, you can solve them so quickly that you’ll wonder if you somehow skipped a step or two. To break up the tedium of solving environmental riddles back to back, some puzzles require you to play arcade games in order to earn some sort of resource (coins and other prizes), so that you can keep making progress through the game.

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The collection of arcade mini-games is a representation of some of the best that casual gaming has to offer and can be pretty damn fun in their own right. In fact, you might like them so much that you’ll want to play them over and over. It should delight you to know that you’ll have access to each unlocked mini-game from the game’s pause menu, so you can take quick arcade breaks while you’re waiting to solve a puzzle, as often as you like.

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Continuing through the game is like watching a film. Actually, the game takes a little over an hour to complete, so it’s on par with most movies’ running times. And like I said, it’s got all of the charm of a Pixar flick, which is augmented since you can take the time to really take in the beautiful environments and the artistry that went into crafting them.

You’ll always want to hurry up and solve an area’s challenges just to get to the next screen and see how beautifully-animated it is and discover what kind of quirky characters inhabit it. A personal favorite character of mine is a bored Pirate Boy who has set up a stand in the middle of an island and sells items while looking supremely bored. He also throws swords around to remind himself that he got his own sword stuck in a rock located across a river of piranhas. Fun, right? Oh, and there’s a bird that eats coconuts until he’s so fat that he can be loaded into a catapult.

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But eventually, all of the fun and wonder has to end, and end it does. You’ll hardly believe that you’ve completed the game once the denouement plays on your iPad, but there it is. So if there is one big criticism I have about this game, it’s that it ends too abruptly and you’re left wanting more.

You can play the game again to see how much you can score and compare yourself with the global leader board, but you’ll have to search through every nook and cranny of Fetch and have lightning-quick reflexes during some of the skill challenges for that. Still, it’s a pretty cool incentive to play again. And of course, you can play the arcade games to your heart’s content.

Sure, it may be a tad pricey at $4.99, but it’s worth every single penny. If you’re looking to have a light-hearted adventure experience filled with all sorts of wonderful art and a touching story, then Fetch is for you. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a dog to find — again.

App Store Link: Fetch for iPad | By Big Fish Games | Price: $4.99 | Version: 1.0.0 | 766 MB | Rating 4+

9.5 out of 10 arcade sushi rating

After a year in development and $1M spent, Big Fish Games launches Fetch mobile game (exclusive)

After a year in development and $1M spent, Big Fish Games launches Fetch mobile game (exclusive)Big Fish Games doesn’t want to go to the dogs amid pack of competitors in casual games. The Seattle-based company gave one of its best development teams a year and $1 million to come up with a game. Their title, Fetch, is launching today in the Apple iTunes App Store. For a mobile title, it represents a considerable investment.

This kind of game will force everybody else to ante up. And it may mean that the days of one-man or one-woman shops dominating the top ranks of apps may be coming to an end. In that way, mobile gaming is going the way that all platforms go. Console games, of course, are an order of magnitude bigger with $50 million budgets.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Chris Campbell and Brian Thompson, the developers who led the project, had a team of just nine people. They are veterans who made the beautiful web downloadable games Drawn: The Painted Tower and Drawn: Trail of Shadows. Both titles were finalists for the casual games honors at the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences awards. Those titles also took a long time to make, and all of that investment paid off, as Drawn distinguished Big Fish Games from other casual game makers.

“Big Fish is setting a standard here,” Campbell said in an interview with GamesBeat. “We wanted to do something unusual and challenge our team in all disciplines. There is no other game like Fetch.”

Paul Thelen, founder and chief executive of Big Fish Games, asked the team to focus on an ambitious mobile title. Campbell, a former Nintendo developer, and Thompson, a former hardcore game maker, decided to build an adventure/arcade game for the iPad. It came from their love of dogs, and it is a tribute to all pet owners. Campbell’s own dog, Bear, served as prime inspiration for the title.

In fact, they included in the game the images of a bunch of dogs that belong to employees, friends, and families (including my dog Kona, pictured at the bottom; disclaimer: they did that on their own, and not as part of a deal for favorable coverage). The story is about a boy and his dog. The dog has been snatched by a robotic fire hydrant. An antagonist is setting traps for dogs, and boy has to find his canine friend. The title has lots of puzzles and arcade action. It has a combination of a lot of gameplay and animated cut scenes, which explains why it took a long time to do.

Thompson said, “We wanted to make the animation feel like a Pixar movie, where everything is interactive. It’s a love letter from people to their pets.”

In a nice marketing stroke, Fetch is being featured in an exhibit at the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle. The exhibit documents the development process of a title that hasn’t yet been released. Thompson said he liked the size of the team because, as art director, he still had a hand in creating a lot of the art for the game. The developers, in their own idea of cross promotion, have put the museum in the game too.

They needed the big team and the time because they’re storytellers. It’s the team’s fourth game in five years.

“We’re passionate about telling stories in our games,” Campbell said. “We don’t like to copy. We never copy. We always want to do something that has never been done before. We use passion instead of data to guide us.”

Thompson said, “We hopes it speaks to people more than a clone of a clone of a clone.”
Read more at http://venturebeat.com/2013/03/21/after-a-year-in-development-and-1m-spent-big-fish-games-launches-fetch-mobile-game-exclusive/

Mobile Adventure Game Exhibited in Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry

Via War Games By Patrick Elliot

WAR GAMES

Big Fish Games has teamed up with fellow Seattle-based institution, the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI), to create an installation detailing the development process of their upcoming mobile adventure game, Fetch.

The interactive exhibit highlights various facets of the game’s development, covering the transition from concept art, to design and development, then testing and marketing. There is even a playable demo of Fetch available to visitors, who are encouraged to test the work-in-progress and offer their own unique gameplay ideas.

Headed by the same team behind the Drawn series, Fetch tells the tale of a boy and his dog, who become separated after a (presumably) unfortunate incident with a sentient fire hydrant. The game promises to offer a mix of puzzles and interactive animation, while also working in retro-style arcade games. Fetch is expected to launch within the first half of 2013, and when it does, it will include a museum level that incorporates actual artifacts from MOHAI. Now that’s synergy.

“There are millions of people who play games but most aren’t privy to the process and details that go into actually creating a game,” says MOHAI Executive Director Leonard Garfield, who hopes the Fetch exhibit will “inspire future game makers.” If you’re interested in seeing the “Building a Video Game” installation at MOHAI, you’ve got some time, as it will be on display through September 2013. For more information, visit Big Fish Games.

FETCH Featured in the Wall Street Journal – How to Make an App

Gaming company Big Fish is showing the steps behind creating it’s latest offering for the iPad, called “Fetch”. It’s a story about a boy trying to save his dog, named “Bear”. WSJ’s Jason Bellini has the story behind an app.

WSJ Live: How to Make an App Video Game for Apple’s App Store

Chris Campbell, a 39-year-old game director at Big Fish Games in Seattle, wanted to make a mobile game about his dog, Bear. That personal inspiration kicked off the lengthy process of creating “Fetch.”

In a video interview (watch above), Mr. Campbell discussed the five steps to making the game, which took a team of nine people an entire year and cost Big Fish just over $1 million. The game, due out this month, follows the journey of a boy trying to rescue his dog.

Mr. Campbell says the development process began a year ago with artists sketching hundreds of drawings, starting with the game’s two main characters, the boy and dog, and moving to the setting and story line. The sketches and story boards helped the company come up with a single premise, which supported every decision in the production process. For “Fetch,” the premise was, “What if a boy’s dog was stolen by a hungry fire hydrant?”

An original sketch of the boy in the game “Fetch.”

The team then went to work for three months building the first 10 minutes of “Fetch.” Illustrators converted the concept drawings into computer renderings. 3-D animators gave the characters a digital “skeleton,” which they then used to “rig” and “weight” the models.

For the next nine months, artists, animators and game developers collaborate on a production map to program in different “if-then” scenarios, depending on the choices the players make. For example, “if” the boy has a dog bowl, and he touches the sink, “then” the bowl fills with water. To make the characters and other objects respond to the human touch, developers relied on math, logic, and physics.

At the end of the process, the game was handed off to a quality-control team, which spent all day “trying to break it,” Mr. Campbell said.

After three weeks of bug fixes, “Fetch” was sent to Apple Inc. for approval in the App Store. The game is scheduled to launch on March 21 and sell for $4.99.

The making of “Fetch” is currently an exhibit at the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle. Here are more photos courtesy of Big Fish:

Some initial game play ideas for the park, the game’s third chapter. Big Fish says most of these ideas were refined and implemented in different ways. The crow for instance became a paper airplane.
A series of sketches showing how the art team created the final look of the boy and his dog.

This is the original design for the first area of the game. At each location (A – X) the boy could perform a certain number of tasks. This document helps the developers understand what the possible actions are for each of those locations.