“Playing in a Fish Bowl” is how I heard Sea Life Safari reviewed on other podcasts and game sites. But not from us at XBLRadio.com we go in depth with our reviews for you the listener/reader. Check out full details “down under”…
At the beginning of each level you are tasked to take pictures of certain sea life. You are enclosed in a submarine with an almost 360° view of the underwater environment. The submarine is self-propelled, “on rails”, and slow moving, giving you plenty of time to setup the perfect photo. In each level you have a certain number of pictures you can take, as well as a certain amount of time to take those pictures in. At the end of each level your pictures are graded by centering, size, orientation and action. You receive a point and star score on each picture and a certain number of stars are required to proceed to the next level. There are five levels in Sea Life Safari but multiple ways to accomplish your task will have you playing each multiple times. The built in Photo Album stores your best picture of over 60+ sea life animals and you can also keep your favorite in a personal album.
Well as mentioned the submarine is “on-rails” and therefore the only controls are for the camera. The Left Stick moves where you are looking, The Left Trigger Zooms the camera in/out, The Right Trigger takes the picture, and The B Button throws your “Gizmo”. The “gizmo” ranges from flares, steel ball, etc… and helps in setting up the sea life for the best action shots!
This is a very beautiful game. Running in 720p has the underwater enviroments looking stunning. All the wildlife, plants, and other assets are very detailed. From the “Suken Ship Graveyard” to the “Coral Reefs” you will get the feeling that you are underwater, crusing around in a submarine; all without getting wet!
Replay ability: (built-in) C
As it seems to be an old habit in games these days the replay ability has been built in to Sea Life Safari in order to collect all items and unlockables. If you want to see and get pictures of all the “special items” and sea creatures you will have to play each level at least three (3) times! Why? Not all the fish and/or collectibles show up in the level until your third trip down. I do not like this bad habit and would not even had known about it if not being the “achievement whore” that I am.
As one of the producer of Sea Life Safari told me: “[This game] is being used as a gunihea pig to see if there is market for this type of game on XBLA”. I am not sure if there is and will venture a guess that most will not be picking up Sea Life Safari. But if you have children in your home under 10 years old or if you are over 30 years old and work 40+ hours a week then this might be the game for you. Falling in the later category from above I find Sea Life Safari to be a very relaxing, pick-up and play for five minutes, non-shooter game.
In using my own “guinea pigs” I let my friend’s kids play a little Sea Life Safari. The 4- and 7-year old loved it and wanted to keep playing over and over to see what the wildlife would be next. The 11-year old wanted nothing to do with it and left the room immediately.
In conclusion, Sea Life Safari is going to be a very niche title and its 800 MS Point ($10 USD) is probably the harder part to keeping this title off a future delisted list. I understand that 800 MS Points is the new norm for original arcade titles, but this title will not bring in the casual gamers that it appears Microsoft is trying to go after.
If you are interested in Sea Life Safari I would also recommend you try out Pokeman Snap (DS), Endless Ocean (Wii) and, the soon to be released, Afika (PS3). But as always the only place to try before you buy in the Xbox Live Arcade! And if you have kids under 10 or have a 40 hr/week+ job and don’t want to play a “shooter” then Sea Life Safari “is your bag baby!”
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