If there's one thing that smartphone and tablet gaming has taught us, it's that hurling defenceless animals around is an acceptable pastime.

I mean, we mobile gamers are constantly being rewarded for tossing small creatures, using them as wrecking balls, and punching them in their faces.

Thanks to Jetpack Joyride developer Halfbrick, you can now add fish and marine mammals to the long list of animals we've digitally molested for our own selfish entertainment over the past few years.

And while the burden of guilt you'll carry for using a noble dolphin to score points might be heavy, it's outweighed by the delight you'll experience from the oddly addictive little gem this Australian studio has created.

Fishing reaction

In spite of its PETA-baiting subject matter, Fish Out of Water! is a simple and intriguing game that doesn't take long to get its claws into you. Your job is to skim three fish across the surface of the sea, gaining points for the number of bounces they manage and the distance they travel.

And that's about it. There are six different fish from which to choose, each with its own particular style of skipping. Finlay the dolphin, for example, skims over and under the ocean, but he will slow down catastrophically if he clips the seabed.

The Brothers, on the other hand, are four little fish that might not be able to fly as far as some of the others, but can rack up massive amounts of bounces for you. There's a speedy but heavy whale and a bouncing blowfish among the remaining sea creatures, too.

Furthermore, there's a boost bar - activated by a push on the screen - that you top up by collecting glowing orbs, though you'll need to ration your boosts if you want to make sure there's some left for your last fish. Oh, and pay attention to the weather. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Once you've thrown your three fishes - each sent on its way via an on-screen swipe from left to right - a cabal of capricious crabs awards you marks out of ten. And then you do the whole thing all over again.

Whale of a time

There are challenges to complete, of course, and you level-up each time you polish off three of these missions. You're also given crystals that you can combine to gain boosts and buffs when you level-up. Or you could just buy them with real-world money.

By logging in via Facebook or Google, you can compete with other players to find out who can get the best marks from the crabs.

Fish Out of Water!, much like the other members of Halfbrick's family of mobile games, is a well put-together and entertaining diversion.

It doesn't quite have the instantaneous pick-up-and-playability of Fruit Ninja, but its bite-sized play chunks and leaderboard-chasing gameplay are absorbing enough to keep you smiling.