Carp Story is not the first game to feature the lowly carp. In Pokemon it was ridiculed by being the inspiration for the weakest monster in existence, Magikarp, which was utterly useless until it evolved into the fearsome dragon Pokemon Gyarados.

That transformation was based on a Chinese legend that says if a carp jumps over the dragon gate it will transform into a dragon.

This parable of social mobility also forms the basis for the premise of Carp Story. However, unlike the eponymous main character, this Tiny Wings clone is destined to remain a carp forever.

Dragonfish

You guide a carp through the sea with the aim of reaching the next zone before the time runs out while scoring as many points as possible. You're in perpetual motion, but touching the top half of the screen rotates the carp clockwise and touching the bottom half anti-clockwise.

You score points by collecting the orange and green orbs scattered above and below the surface, as well as by leaping out of the water into the air.

Rotating while airborne scores extra trick points, which are multiplied if you complete a perfect nose-first landing. Chain three of these perfect jumps together and you will enter Hyper mode – sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Carp game

But unlike Tiny Wings, the game feels too pedestrian.

Time is so generous that you never feel any urgency, while travelling underneath the surface is so slow and uneventful that it feels more like watching a lonely aquarium than playing a game.

The hand-drawn graphics aren’t the ugliest, but the promise of dynamically changing environments is simply irrelevant as they have very little impact on the game.

The only real excitement comes from performing consecutive perfect landings to enter Hyper mode, but just one wrong move halts your momentum.

Carp Story is functional, and its style may endear it to some, but this is one clone that should be avoided.