Cryptid Studios brings Pocket Oceans to life on iOS [Interview]

Image via Cryptid Studios
Image via Cryptid Studios

Cryptid Studios has today announced the launch of Pocket Oceans on iOS, the independent developer’s take on “Zombie Farm meets FishVille” that allows users to design and manage their own underwater habitat, breeding and selling fish to make a profit.

The RPG simulation game gives players access to a variety of tank decorations and rare and exotic fish. The more fish users breed and maintain, the more they’ll advance through the experience. If players are interested in creating more than just a peaceful aquarium, they can also spend their time defeating predator creatures, including crabs, giant walruses and more.

We had a chance to chat with Cryptid Studios founder Josh Lulewicz about Pocket Oceans, and what players can expect when they dive into this underwater adventure.

Inside Mobile Apps: There are quite a few “aquarium” games on Facebook and mobile. What makes Pocket Oceans different from the many other games in the genre?

Josh Lulewicz: Pocket Oceans takes the best elements of the aquarium/pet genre and combines them to provide the player with a truly unique and customizable experience.  With beautifully rendered graphics, players have the ability to grow and collect over 50 different species of aquatic animals.  Fish can be bought and sold for profit, kept for display or even trained for battle.  Players can breed fish to attain various color variations, each of which provide upgraded skills.  Fish can even be cross bred for a chance to hatch rare and coveted animals.  There are over 100 graphic decorations to choose from, which provides a terrific opportunity for customizing your ocean.  There is also a complete RPG aspect, which allows players to battle their fish against deadly sea monsters for a chance to win fabulous prizes.

IMA: Pocket Oceans has been described as Zombie Farm meets FishVille. Can you speak a bit to the things that inspired the team about each game?

JL: As fish a lover I always found Fishville to be a bit lacking as there wasn’t much to do with your fish once you raised them. The fun just sort of stopped there. Zombie farm introduced rpg elements to your basic decoration game.  I thought “wouldn’t it be cool, in addition to growing and caring for exotic fish, to battle them against vicious sea creatures to win prizes and continue to advance through the game?”

IMA: Pocket Oceans will allow players to battle against scuba divers, crabs, giant walruses, and more. Can you explain more about the battle system and how that will work? Will battles be random, or will players have to manually engage in them?

JL: The battles are available from the start and progress as you play through the game.  Players are responsible for building a team of fish.  Each fish has a unique set of stats and is placed in one of 6 classes (Balanced / Clever / Quick / Rugged / Brawny / Healer).  Each class has unique strengths and weaknesses so it will be up to the player to put together a group to best face a specific monster.  The battle system itself is turn based and each stage requires the user to deploy each fish at the right time as well as overcome any obstacles the sea beast may present (i.e. tap the shell of a giant hermit crab if it’s hiding).

At the end of the battle if all the monsters are defeated players receive a prize.  Prizes range from coins to unique decoration items for their ocean to even golden clams.  As players progress through the game they will have the ability to boost the stats of their fish using equipment.  Fish can be equipped with various armors, weapons and tails to greatly improve their chances of survival.

Image via Cryptid Studios

IMA: Are there any other social features in Pocket Oceans, aside from viewing other players’ oceans?

JL: Currently players can view the oceans of their game center friends, in upcoming releases they will have to ability to interact and exchange clams and other gifts.  We also plan on running events for players to compete and win unique prizes.

IMA: How will Pocket Oceans be monetized? What sorts of items can players purchase with real money?

JL: Pocket Oceans is completely free to play.  Players can purchase Golden Clams in-game which can be exchanged for power ups, storage, exotic fish, certain decorations, backgrounds, substrates, etc.

IMA: What sorts of updates can players expect after Pocket Oceans launches?

JL: We have a long list of features we would like to implement in future versions of Pocket Oceans.  We look forward to working with the community to provide the best experience possible for them.

IMA: Was Pocket Oceans in development before FishVille ultimately closed in December 2012? Did the closure affect the way the game was developed or cause any concern in the team?

JL: Yes, I began development on Pocket Oceans in November of 2010, long before FishVille was closed.  I can’t say I was concerned by Zynga’s decision to shut it down.  Especially when products like Tap Fish and Happy Aquarium continue to be successful.  Pocket Oceans takes some of the best features of those games, but takes them a step further to create a more engaging overall experience.

IMA: Anything else you’d like to add?

JL: Pocket Oceans has really been a labor of love, I’m excited to engage with players and really create an amazing experience for everyone.

Pocket Oceans is now available to download for free on iPhone and iPad. You can follow the game’s progress on AppData, our tracking tool for mobile and social apps and developers.