Review: Carps & Dragons (Nintendo 3DS)

Carps & Dragons
Publisher: Abylight
Developer: Abylight
Genre: Puzzle/Arcade
Release Date: 09/26/2013

When it comes to cheaper, quick fire games, nothing hits the spot more than the puzzle genre. The Nintendo eShop recently saw the addition of Carps & Dragons, and, while it isn’t fair to call the title a bad game, it failed to hold my interest despite its mix of quirky themes.

The game tasks players with using a net to catch a variety of fish, but, of course, in video game fashion, it isn’t that simple. A number of other critters and obstacles, including fire-breathing dragons, will attempt to impede your progress. Thankfully, in line with puzzle games, Carps & Dragons keeps it simple – one button jumps and other swings your net.

A barebones arcade mode tasks player with racking up target scores within a time limit, and, while new stages try to implement new hazards or bonuses along the way, the gameplay gets quite repetitive. Thankfully, two extra modes keep the mechanics a little more interesting.

The challenge mode was my favorite because it offered up quick challenges, perfect for gaming on the go. The tasks start out simple and tedious, but picks up a bit when more restrictions and hazards are added into the mix. The third mode, Fishtris, stacks caught fish into a playfield and layering fish of the same color eliminates them from the field and awards points. The concept was interesting and had novelty in the beginning, but, much like arcade mode, I found Fishtris wore thin in extended sessions.

Looking at the overall package, the title is actually a decent-looking game. The game opens with a nice video that shows off how quirky the game’s characters are. The visuals sport a range of colors and most of the animation is solid, especially with water effects.

The sound is a bit less forgettable, but it does its job we’ll enough. The music is suitable for the background, as I tuned it out some times while focusing on the action. Still, water splashes sound like you would expect them to and there are a few nice touches here and there, such as the crunch you hear when you jump on smaller critters to thwart their attempts to sidetrack you from your goal.

Still, when I boil it down, the repetitiveness weighed down the overall experience for me. I enjoyed the quirky premise and the setup, but the delivery of the gameplay fell flat for me and I was hardly interested in playing the game for extended periods. Those who could possibly get into the game a little more will find three different modes with multiple stages to come back to, though.

Short Attention Span Summary

The game controls as it should, looks solid, has both easy and challenging sections and has a somewhat unique premise. Despite my lack of grand excitement for the title, I still admit Carps & Dragons has a solid game to offer. If it weren’t so repetitive and tedious in its core elements, I would give this one a good recommendation.



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