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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/

AppSpy gives FETCH 5 out of 5 stars!

AppSpy Review

Let me start this review by removing those of you who can’t get past a game having a low level of challenge – Fetch is aimed at younger audiences, and as such you’re not going to find the ‘hardcore’ experience you may expect of all games. With that said, Fetch by Big Fish Games is the gaming equivalent of a Dreamworks or Pixar movie: despite being designed for younger audiences, adults aren’t left out of the equation either thanks to the wonderful story that pulls on your heart strings.

The game ostensibly feels and plays out like an Adventure title, providing a series of point-and-tap interactive screens where light puzzle solving will help you to proceed. However the game quickly offers up an entirely alternative means for progression through the inclusion of brief, but fun ‘Flash’-like arcade games that reward the player with items needed to move along the storyline. Once completed the games can be played at any time for the sake of it, though every now and then the game also throws in a mini-game with more of a puzzle edge to it to keep your brain from switching off entirely.

Not that this is a problem thanks to the insane level of detail that has gone in to the presentation of every single screen you encounter. Tap a sign in the background and it may light up, buzz a bit, and return to its neutral state; bubbles will pop under your finger; and trees and bushes will sway. It doesn’t add to the game in a meaningful way other than by providing a novel distraction, but it does give the game a richness that pairs well with the game’s delightful cartoon visuals.

For those worried that the game is ‘too easy’, ‘hard’ modes are available in some of the arcade games, giving you at least a little bit of a run for your money.

Still, you’ll marvel as each new area provides you with a wealth of distractions, giving you all the motivation you need to plow your way through to the end of the game’s all-too-brief storyline. And it’s a beautiful tale too (also one worth sharing with your children if they’re age appropriate), making it an easy title to recommend.

Read about it: http://www.appspy.com/review/6844/fetch

Gamezebo Review of FETCH

The official game of dog lovers everywhere.

Are games art? Am I pretentious for asking that question? The answer, on both accounts, is yes. And while I’d much rather avoid the topic altogether, it can’t really be helped with Fetch, a point-and-click adventure from Big Fish Games. It’s currently part of a featured exhibit at the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI), where people can get a glimpse into its development cycle and other behind-the-scenes goodness. Take that, Roger Ebert!

A spot in a museum isn’t a one-way ticket to Good Gameville, however. That also requires solid gameplay and, in some cases, a captivating story. Fetch just so happens to have both of these things in spades. It also features a lot of dogs, which means it’s probably the best game ever.

Embark is Evil

But don’t start “aww”-ing just yet, dog lovers. Fetch tells the sad story of a young boy who loses his dog, Bear, to an evil company known as Embark Industries (I’m assuming that pun is intended).  Embark markets itself as a pro-dog institution, but only to cloak its true intentions: stealing dogs left and right. There’s a reason behind the company’s actions – and it’s actually pretty cute – but I’d rather not spoil it for you. Suffice to say, your dog has been kidnapped and you want it back.

In typical point-and-click fashion, you’ll be tasked with solving a variety of puzzles in order to progress; some of them require items you discover in the environment, and others demand nothing more than your wits. These puzzles are easily one of Fetch’s strongest aspects. They’re not obtuse in the same way as many other point-and-click adventure games, but they aren’t a cakewalk, either.

And on the subject of pointing and clicking, Fetch is bursting at the seams with interactive background elements. Nearly every section of the game has at least a couple of things worth tapping on to see their reaction. I mean, who doesn’t love tapping on a skull and hearing it chatter?

And when you’re not tapping things or solving puzzles, chances are you’re playing a mini-game of some sort.Fetch is full of them, and playing them is a necessary part of progressing in the game. Some of them borrow a little too much from classic arcade games and feel more clichéd than fun, but most of them are entertaining. My absolute favorite of the lot was the one that took place within the in-game version of MOHAI (totally meta, I know), where you fire away at various enemies and items while learning about different periods of human history. It was educational and violent!

Given the game’s presence in MOHAI (and MOHAI’s presence in the game), I would be remiss not to discuss its visuals. I debated for a while about the best way to describe them, but I finally decided that classic animation with a modern flare worked best. This is because Fetch features lush, 2D backgrounds, as well as 3D, polygonal characters. You’d think these two styles would be at war with each other, but they actually work in tandem quite wonderfully. There’s nothing quite like a giant 3D alligator popping out from the depths of a seemingly 2D (and oddly beautiful) sewer.

Fetch is a game that oozes personality, thanks in no small part to its gorgeous visuals, lively world, and less-is-more approach to storytelling. If you’ve been in search of a solid point-and-click adventure game —and you’re not a dyed in the wool cat person—you won’t regret picking this one up.

Gamezebo Review

Read more: http://www.gamezebo.com/games/fetch/review

4 out of 5 Stars on 148apps.com

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Big Fish Games is a well known name for fans of any casual gaming experience, from Hidden Object searching to Match Three puzzling. While the company has delved into some casual adventure gaming, a truly original and designed specifically for mobile experience is a hugely positive thing to see. Fetch is that title and while it’s not perfect, it is a fun amalgamation of exploration and simple arcade gaming.

Following the story of a boy whose dog has been kidnapped by a mysterious fire hydrant, Fetch takes players to a mysterious world where robots and huge monsters roam within. There’s a plot afoot involving the kidnap of many dogs and it’s down to the young boy to stop it. It’s all quite reminiscent of a family adventure and its visuals are similarly delightful.

Players wander around with taps of the screen, interacting with certain items to get past obstacles. There’s no Hot Spot button which will infuriate novices used to having their hand held, but fans of the genre should appreciate the slight additional challenge. At times, it can be a little uncertain as to what needs doing next but that adds to the longevity of the game. Interspersed amongst these simple puzzles are arcade games which provide items that can be used to pass the current obstacle.

These arcade games are simple but fun. One might involve tapping on alien heads quickly, while another might involve destroying enemy ships. They’re far from convoluted but they break up the pure exploration quite nicely.

At times, it might feel a little confusing as to where to or what to do next, but Fetch holds the attention quite nicely. With a selection of optional things to do too, such as collect all the dog collars scattered around, plus the heartwarming story, there’s enough here to keep players returning for more.

Read more: http://www.148apps.com/reviews/fetch-review/#ixzz2OC0SqkqK