Thank you Teyon for sending us this game to review!
Gilbert is a clownfish who falls in love with a pink fish named Pearlina. He tried to woo her with flowers, but she wasn’t impressed. In order to get her attention and affection he’ll have to scour the ocean for the largest pearl he can find.
The game plays as a vertical runner where Gilbert is always moving and it’s up to you to keep him from bumping into coral reefs or enemy fish, eels, jellyfish, and crustaceans. Enemies can either be avoided or rammed into if you can time it properly. To do a power attack you have to use the one of the trigger buttons. Moving Gilbert is done via the lower touch screen and the stylus.
It would have been nice to have the option to use the circle pad or D-pad as controls, but the stylus method is pretty responsive and easy to get the hang of. The 3D graphics are nice and colorful but they take some getting used to since the screens have slightly different perspectives. Using the 2D mode may be a little easier to adjust to.
Since there is no end goal, your mission is to swim as far as you can and to collect as many shells as possible. The shells are in-game currency which you can use to buy extra lives, head starts, different skin colors, and power-up boosts.
When Gilbert runs into an enemy, a life-preserver can give him one more chance and resume the randomly generated level. Life preservers can only be used once per level and they cost 1,000 shells for one or 2,500 for three of them. Sometimes they can be picked up in the level so keep an eye out for them!
There are randomly placed power-ups as well. The turtle shell will summon a giant sea turtle that will clear away most enemies and leave behind a trail of shells to collect. I’m not sure if it was a fluke or not but one time when the turtle came by some jelly fish were still able to race through the scene to try and attack me. The fireball power-up will speed up Gilbert and make him temporarily fly past enemies without getting hurt. The bubble power-up will encase all of the nearby enemies in a bubble which Gilbert can pop with his temporary needle nose. Last but not least is the magnet power-up that grants Gilbert the ability to collect shells that would normal be out of his range.
Another thing to look out for are caves. Your reflexes have to be quick to enter them in time, and if you do, they’re worth it. The caves are enemy free and filled with shells and sometimes treasure chests which have even more of them.
To progress the love story and Gilbert’s quest, randomly assigned objectives have to be completed. The objectives vary from dying from a certain creature to using specific abilities or even refraining from collecting shells or using your power attack. After six to eight objectives are completed, a story scene is revealed.
The story is shown comic book style with still images revealing the back story. There is very little voice acting, just an “ouch!” when Gilbert collides with an object. The sound effects are decent and each enemy type has their own unique noise. The background rock music is generic, but functional.
In the end, Ocean Runner is a cute game that’s easy to pick up and play anytime, and anywhere. My kids enjoyed it and my daughter and I were competing on who had the current high score. Her score is the highest at this point in time. The price is a reasonable $2.99 on Nintendo’s eShop and I recommend it for anyone that likes Finding Nemo or endless runner games.