Excerpt: If you read my preview to Downstream Panic then you know my initial reaction to this Playstation Portable (PSP) video game developed by Eko, and published by Atari. If you have not read my preview, let me sum it up – I expected a game with a lot of problems. What I found was a cool little Lemmings like game based on fish. These fish are in bubbles that releases them, and then gravity does the rest.
Excerpt: Downstream Panic! is more than just a variation on Loco Roco or other recent games like Patapon that feature simplified, graphic elements and gameplay. There are common themes such as the jaunty music and the visual style, but games like this are more about reacting against super-realism than lacking originality. We can certainly stream off a long list of sequels and derivative works that come from genres such as Action, FPS, and Racing...
Excerpt: Apparently a tropical storm has sucked out the entire collection of fish from the oceans and it is up to the player to safely get them back, avoiding sharks and other dangerous objects… It takes just a few minutes to figure out what you are supposed to be doing, then it clicks in this strategy game. It starts off pretty simple and gets harder as you go, and more complicated and complex.
Summary: It may look and feel like Lemmings, but Atari's newest puzzler has a number of tricks up its sleeve. Downstream Panic proves to be one of the most charming and exciting puzzle games of the year, an adorable little game that combines old school gameplay with modern graphics. This is one puzzler that is well worth seeking out! This product was submitted by the publisher for review. As a rule, Defunct Games does not review games we spent money on.
Summary: Downstream Panic! is an unpredictable, fast-paced, tactical puzzle-action that places players in the position of a sea-creature preservationist out to save the world from a fantastic cyclone that has blasted the world's fish into the Earth's atmosphere.
Excerpt: being pleasantly surprised by games, and that goes double for games that one would normally discount as being mediocre based just one concept alone. There were ample times where could have faltered or broke out of the simple rule set that it created to try to do more, but instead it sticks rigidly to a core ideal that you're just supposed to get fish from a bubble created by a magical twister down to their proper home at the bottom of the screen.
Excerpt: Puzzle games and handhelds. Like peanut butter and jelly, the two have always gone hand in hand with one another. Thanks to the overwhelming success of Tetris and the GameBoy, puzzle games always seem better suited on handhelds, as opposed to consoles. That is not to say that there's anything wrong with console puzzle games, it's just that playing them on the go feels right.
Summary: Saving cute little fish in Downstream Panic! is a fun though, occasionally, frustrating endeavor.
Pros: When it's not too difficult, the gameplay is outstanding, Fast-forward and retry buttons take the pain out of trial and error, 80 levels wills keep you busy for quite some time
Cons: Levels eventually become too convoluted thanks to excessive gimmicks, Inconsistent physics occasionally mean you'll have done everything right, but the fish still die, No multiplayer, no user-created content, and no hints leave you with little to do if you're stuck
Conclusion: As an overall game, "Downstream" is a fun and addictive experience. It is challenging with a lot to offer and pretty good replay value. With eighty stages out of the box, that's a lot of gaming. The developer advertises at least ten hours. There will also be additional levels available as downloadable content.