Fish Tales from Everywhere Inc. is a social game for iOS devices. It has been available for almost a year, but this week put in a strong showing in the Emerging Free Apps charts. According to our tracking service AppData, the game rose as high as No. 2 in the Top Free Apps and Top Free Games charts on February 13 of this year, but has since plummeted back down to the low 200s. It’s not immediately obvious what caused the sudden resurgence of interest in the game, as the developers have been silent on the game’s official Facebook page for some time and the game’s last update was in October 2011.
Fish Tales tasks players with managing an aquarium full of fictional fish. Gameplay is simple enough to be explained through a tutorial which takes a matter of minutes rather than the more drawn-out experiences seen in some other social titles. This means players can jump straight in to playing the game without having to be led through menus.
Basic gameplay in Fish Tales revolves around purchasing fish using the game’s soft currency, putting them into an aquarium, feeding them, maturing them and selling them. Fish can also evolve into different breeds through the use of an “evolution shell,” with the eventual aim for players being to collect all the available types of fish in the game. Discovered fish that the player has successfully evolved can then be selected as the player’s profile picture, allowing for easy sharing of their progress through the game’s possibilities.
The game includes extensive social features. Players are required to sign up for a Fish Tales account upon starting the game and must be online at all times to play. During the game, players are able to visit friends and randomly-selected community members to feed their fish and clean their aquaria. Each player also has a message wall on which players can leave notes or requests to add each other, allowing for in-game messaging and friend-finding rather than the oft-seen swathe of App Store reviews begging people to add each other.
Game Center is also used, though only for a leaderboard counting how many fish a player has acquired over the course of their career. There is evidence of problems with hackers on this leaderboard, with the top spot claiming possession of over a billion fish. The official Facebook page for the game claims that the most recent updates to the game have dealt with this problem.
The game is monetized primarily through hard currency sales. These “Gems,” as they are called, can be acquired through in-app purchases or also earned at a slow rate through completing in-game tasks. They can then be spent on premium items, decor and fish as well as hurrying timed processes such as maturing and evolving fish, allowing players to make more rapid progress. Players are also able to purchase bundles of soft currency if they need a quick cash injection to complete a goal.
At the time of writing, Fish Tales‘ sudden surge in popularity appears to have ended, having dropped to No. 279 in Top Free Apps and No. 105 in Top Free Apps. To follow its progress, check out AppData, our tracking service for iOS and social games and developers.