Review Survive! Mola mola!
Amazing premise, poor execution
Author: Brandon Girod
Date: 13 Apr 2017, tested on HTC One M8
Great retro graphics, interesting premise, lots of exploration
Way too reliant on luck, gameplay is too slow, repetitive
A long time ago there were these digital keychains pets that were pretty much all the rage. Tamagotchis were among the most famous brand, but there were plenty of others. The premise was that you would carry around your Tamagotchi and take care of it. Over the course of a few weeks it would evolve into new things based on how well you took care of it. Survive! Mola Mola! for Android is very similar to that but with these weird fish creatures called Mola. The idea is very similar: take care of your Mola and see how far you can evolve it before it dies.
The whole death part is the ultimate bummer. It’s like a rogue-like game in that death is permanent and you don’t get to keep anything from your previous playthroughs. The problem with this is that most rogue-likes have a lot of random elements and variables that make discovery and character progression feel like a new experience in each playthrough.
This game doesn’t do that. If you manage to grow your Mola to a personal new record then you’ll have to repeat the exact same steps to get to that same point and hopefully further. The only random part about the game is the death. You might start up to find that your Mola has died from hitting the side of the tank too hard, or from diving in the deep end too soon. What? None of that makes any sense. Imagine playing a game where you leveled up a character to level 50 and suddenly a semi-truck just comes out of nowhere and kills your character forever. Not too appealing is it?
The worst part of the game is that it has no way to passively play the game. You can grow your fish in two ways: feeding it food as it randomly appears (the slow but safe way), or going on adventures that gives a considerable amount of weight but will likely result in the death of your Moba. As fun as the premise of this game sounds, it’s mechanics are the antithesis of fun. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that the game is downright boring. If you’re not willing to sink money into it then you might as well get used to having your phone on as you click the screen for hours and hours in order to grow your fish until it inevitably dies for no reason.
Survive! Mola Mola! is a clicking simulator. There is no gameplay beyond clicking on food that provides you with a laughable amount of weight. The random death elements and perma-death are all reasons why you should absolutely not download or play this game. As fun as it sounds, it’s nothing but a headache to play.