Marine life conservation is the topic of choice for SGN's newest iPhone and iPad title Rescue Reef, as you're placed in charge of an underwater shelter and are given the chance to interact with and heal a variety of sea creatures that have been hurt by outside forces. The details surrounding how and why so many fish suddenly became sick are a bit shaky (or missing altogether), but the end goal sees you adopting and then releasing dozens and eventually hundreds or even thousands of fish back into the open waters of the deep after they've been nurtured back to full health.
Rescue Reef presents the basics in habitat or city-building, as you'll need construct individual stations within which an animal can be healed, and then more stations that will give the fish a chance to play, be bathed, fed and so on. Depending on the kind of fish, the amount of time required from adoption to release varies, which gives the game a "set it and wait" setup that's standard for the free-to-play genre.
The game's tutorial could use some work, as the menus can be a bit unintuitive at first glance, but over time become second nature once you come to understand how precise your taps need to be to collect profits, interact with fish and so on. You can customize your healing habitat by purchasing decorations and all sorts of functional buildings, with many being required to finish in-game quests. There's a focus on educational content throughout, with fun facts about each fish and underwater life in general being available to unlock along the way, and you can even breed some endangered fish to help increase their numbers.
All of this is accomplished via a few simple taps. You may need to tap a fish to start healing it, and then manually scrub a fish with a sponge to remove any debris on its gills. These mini-games (such as they are) aren't very in-depth, and the majority of your time with the game will ultimately be spent waiting for fish to finish their time in one station before moving them onto the next or releasing them back in the wild.
Perhaps the best thing Rescue Reef has going for it id its graphics, which are downright adorable. The choice of a pastel color palette is appreciated, as the many kinds of coral and decorations in this underwater paradise might have been a bit blinding (or at the very least distracting) had they been created in a neon color scheme. Ultimately, Rescue Reef is definitely a treat to the eyes and can provide a fun and even slightly educational experience to mobile gamers everywhere, so long as you're willing to put up with some long wait times between in-game steps.
Click here to download Rescue Reef on iTunes --->
Have you tried Rescue Reef on your iPhone or iPad? Will you download the game and start to help fish of your own? Sound off in the comments!