Maui and the Big Fish must be one of the oddest games I've ever played. It's a lot of fun, and it's pretty easy to learn. But, wow, is it odd.
Maui is a young boy living on a tropical island. What he and his people learn the hard way is that the entire island is actually built on the back of a giant fish that was apparently sleeping. The fish wakes up and takes off under the sea, taking the village with it. Maui, being the upstanding young man he is, takes off with wonder dog Fetch to retrieve the village. (I'm unclear on the fate of the villagers, but Maui doesn't seem all that bummed out, so I'm thinking they must have survived.)
Maui and the Big Fish is kind of a side-scroller action game, except that all of the action is happening vertically as Maui and Fetch go deeper and deeper into uncharted waters in search of the Big Fish.
Each level has a number of sections to play through. The level always begins with a little tutorial on anything new you'll be facing. I like that the game gives you time to get experienced with each challenge before it adds something new to the mix.
Initially, you will learn how to aim Fetch and give him a shove with your feet to shoot him at things. You'll also be able to swim over some things directly to collect them. You primarily will be collecting gold coins and bubbles of air. Remember, you're underwater and keep going down. You'll need to be very careful about managing your air. Each set of 100 gold coins gives you an additional life. You probably won't need them at first, but those extra lives will come in handy as the game gets much tougher. If you see a yellow starfish, you definitely want to collect that. This is your save game point.
You use Fetch to um, fetch things, and to set off triggers or break pieces of these colorful underwater plants. For each bit of plant Fetch destroys, a little bubble of air is released. Destroy a whole bunch of plants at the same time, and giant bubbles of air are yours for the taking. Each plant is round and made up of five pieces — four outer pieces and a little ball in the middle. These pieces can be the same or different colors. Have Fetch break through to the middle and then bring you back this colored ball. You can shoot Fetch, holding the ball at a plant piece of the same color. Every adjacent plant piece of the same color will explode in sequence, releasing all of those mega-bubbles of air. (You also can get air by swimming over or Fetch-ing puffer fish.)
Along with destroying plants, managing your air and collecting gold coins, other challenges will be presented. Sometimes the flowers are encased in sponges and inside a leathery shell. You have to break all of the sponge pieces before the shell will open, and only then can you attack the plants as usual. Sometimes there will be creatures that can take all of your air at a single touch — like jellyfish, frogs, eels or centipedes. Be careful around these. The jellyfish are slow and can be avoided, or you can shoot Fetch to kill them. You'll need to have Fetch kill the frogs (the little halos they get as they float upward are cute) because those frogs are fast and keep moving. Eels — you just need to use good timing and avoid.
The centipedes are my current challenge. Each centipede has body segments of different colors. Attached to the walls of the area are nautilus shells. The shells shoot different colored little glowing balls. You need to have Fetch get the right color ball and then shoot him at the correct color body segment. When all the segments are gone, the centipede is destroyed. If you shoot the wrong color ball into a body segment, the centipede gets another head. This isn't good, because each head shoots little balls of energy at you that steal all of your air. You have to remove all of the circling centipedes from a plant before you can have Fetch attack it at all.
Will Maui and Fetch find the Big Fish and save the village? I don't know, but I'm going to give it my best shot. I have a lot of fun playing this whacky game. I highly recommend Maui and the Big Fish. Give it a shot.