theuselessgod's Feeding Frenzy 2 (Xbox 360 Games Store) review

A fishy upgrade from the original.

The Short

Pros

- Takes the addicting formula of Feeding Frenzy and amps up the modes

- Co-op for the main campaign is excellent

- Main campaign also mixes it up much more frequently and to a greater detail than Feeding Frenzy

- Has a wide variety of silly minigames

- Graphics are much improved over the original

Cons

- Still essentially the same thing over and over, albeit mixed up a little this time

- While graphics are decent they aren't exactly gorgeous

- Limited replay options

Time for some more fish eatin'.

The LongSo after getting hooked on the original Feeding Frenzy, we decided to take the dive and pick up the second game. The oddly subtitled Feeding Frenzy 2: Shipwreck Showdown promised better graphics, more varied gameplay, and a co-op mode as well as a handful of minigames.

Guess what? It delivered, resulting in a "deeper" (hur hur) casual game than it's predecessor, though it still remained a bit simplistic and light on overall content.

There are more levels and fish to play as this time.

Essentially, the game at its core hasn't changed. Eat fish smaller than you, get big, win. Repeat every stage, as you keep shrinking down between them. After a set number of levels you'll swap to a different fish that plays almost exactly the same as the previous ones. So there's that.What PopCap does better in this sequel is mix stuff up along the way. There's more "bad" fish to eat, including poison fish that reverse your controls, squid that can shoot ink at you and disorient your fish, etc. You can jump out of the water to eat bugs and perform tricks on certain levels, which is entertaining. Some particularly unique levels are the angler fish, which happen mostly in the dark and require you to eat lights to see what is going on. Again, not a huge amount of new variety here, but certainly a lot more than the first game.

You can jump out of the water for power-ups and bugs, but watch out for birds!

There's a wider range of power-ups as well, which helps because the increased level variety also ups the difficulty. Feeding Frenzy 2 isn't a particularly difficult game, but it certainly is faster than the first game, and with increased options comes more way to screw up. It's a strong blend, and while it's still a very "casual" game, it maintains the addictive quality of the first Feeding Frenzy.Another awesome addition for the XBLA and PSN versions of the game is full co-op. Now you and a friend or significant other can play together, both working to eat fish, avoid bigger fish (and mines, the bane of my wife's existence) and grow big and then go on an eating spree. The only real downside with co-op is you share both lives and size progress, so if one of you gets eaten all progress to the next "rank up" is lost, even if the other player is still alive. Annoying, but it works.

The "Frenzy" combo meter is still here, which will help you get more points and rank up faster. As it stands, it's just a slightly deeper game than the original, shallow offering presented in Feeding Frenzy. But co-op makes up for a lot.

The Xbox/PS3 versions also have four player minigames. These are not in the PC version.

There's a handful of minigames you can play with your friends; about...six in total? Sorry; I should probably fact check this, but just know they are reasonably fun and can be a decent diversion. The favorite for us was the one where one person is a tiny fish and the rest are big fish. Eating the tiny fish turns you tiny, and you only gain score when you are little. Kind of like Juggernaut mode in Halo, but fishier. Anyway, it turns into a frantic madhouse quickly, which I'm all for. And while the minigames won't exactly have you coming back for more (especially since there are so few of them) they are worth a chuckle.

This image came up when I searched for "Feeding Frenzy 2." I felt it appropriate.

Graphically, the game looks a lot better than the original Feeding Frenzy, which I have difficulty believing is even in HD. Everything looks crisper, the water effects are better, and the color is more vibrant. It still is very simple, but the fish look less like cardboard cutouts floating around, and it all is easy on the eyes. Sounds are also good, with more chomping noises (the most important part) and a few light, watery tunes to play during stages.

Not all the minigames are winners.

As it stands, Feeding Frenzy 2 is a solid diversion, especially if you have a spouse or girlfriend to play it with. the $10 asking price on XBLA is a bit steep, though; $5 might be more in line with the game's value. Unfortunately, nobody remembers this game exists anymore, so waiting for a discount would probably be fruitless. Hopefully PopCap drops the price permanently, like they did with so many other of their XBLA releases.Regardless, Feeding Frenzy 2 is a large jump over its original, and those looking for some casual, fish eating fun could certainly do worse. Like the first game. Which is worse.

Three out out of five stars.

Feeding Frenzy 3 should involve sushi somehow.

More at http://nathanvsvideogames.blogspot.com

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