Xbox Live Arcade Roundup

Feeding Frenzy 2, Domino Master.

Feeding Frenzy 2

  • Developer: Gastronaut Studios
  • Publisher: PopCap Games Inc.
  • Cost: 800 Microsoft Points
  • In Real Money: GBP 6.80 / EUR 9.60

There wasn't a whole lot of substance to the original Feeding Frenzy. You were a small fish that ate smaller fish and avoided larger fish until you grew into a larger fish which made the other larger fish into smaller fish so you could eat them as well, except now there was an even larger fish and so it went on. It was deliberately shallow, but strangely compelling.

There certainly wouldn't seem to be many inspiring directions in which to take a sequel, but Feeding Frenzy 2 beefs up the familiar gameplay with some fun new ideas and multiplayer options. The graphics have also received a welcome overhaul, with the cheery characters now looking like they've been designed for an HD games console rather than fished out of a Flash website.

The meat of the game remains largely unchanged, though you get 60 levels rather than the original's 40. Complaints of repetition are as valid as ever. You certainly won't want to plough through the game in one sitting, but digested as intended - in bite-sized chunks - it's a decent distraction.

As before you act like an aquatic bully, chomping on those smaller than you and avoiding contact with the big boys. There are some tweaks to the formula though. You can jump out of the water, for instance, and snack on some of the insects hovering above. You can earn bonus points for pulling off flips and twists in the air. Also new is the ability to blow other fish... Wait, let me rephrase that. You can blow as well as suck which... Actually, I'll leave it at that. This can only end badly. And by "badly" I mean "with an investigation by the RSPCA".

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Fishing Frenzy 2 comes with subtitles for the hard of herring.

Multiplayer is the big - and rather unexpected - addition. It's all local, so there's none of your fancy-schmancy intercom parties here, but you can have four player co-op in both the Story Mode and Lite Mode (Lite Mode is essentially Story Mode but really easy). There are also ten mini-games, which are all based around chasing each other or battling for ridiculous scores. These can be played separately or as part of a "Frenzyfest" tournament.

There's no point scoring this in comparison to most other games. It's casual to the core, designed to be playable by everyone from little kids to open-minded grandparents, and that's no bad thing. In those terms, Feeding Frenzy 2 is a decent package that improves on the original in terms of size, if not gameplay.

6/10

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