FishHunt is a new Facebook game from developer HitGrab, Inc. The game launched in open beta on June 7 following a 30 day pre-release marketing strategy designed to engage early adopters and build a user base before launch. It turned up on our list of emerging Facebook games just last week.
FishHunt is a game that focuses on the life of a fisherman. Players can navigate their boat around various grid-based maps in a similar fashion to treasure-hunting games, and are able to fish water squares if they have the appropriate rod and bait. Fish can be exchanged for trophies (which provide hints on how to catch more of the same fish) or alternatively sold at the fish market, which uses a dynamic player-driven economy. Selling fish becomes necessary at times, as the player’s boat only has a certain amount of space. There’s a time limit before caught fish spoil, too, thanks to the player’s gradually-melting ice supply, which can be topped up in exchange for soft currency.
Players can acquire additional licenses and access to further regions and equipment by completing sets of quests rather than using a more traditional experience point-based leveling system. This allows casual players to make noticeable progress in a short time rather than having to “grind” for experience points.
HitGrab CEO Joel Augé feels that the actual sport of fishing has been under-explored, despite the many fish-themed games on Facebook. He also believes that the game has a number of features that set it apart from other titles on Facebook even beyond the fish genre.
“A few detailed traits include the fact that the whole map is animated (with waves and weather conditions being dynamic) and the fact that the marketplace and weather conditions are shared across all users,” he says. “With feedback from our players, we’ve innovated a number of features we plan to release to make the social side of FishHunt even more fun as well. We’ve built one of the fastest Flash game engines in the world called ‘Blitz,’ which is what powers the thousands of simultaneous animations in the game. That’s pretty unique in our space.”
FishHunt is monetized exclusively through Facebook Credits. Items that can be purchased with Credits include energy refills (which can also be purchased with soft currency, oddly enough) as well as vanity upgrades for fish trophies, high quality bait and better equipment. Some virtual goods and in-game benefits such as hints on where to catch specific fish are provided via Frictionless Credits, however, Augé notes that the community has responded negatively to this kind of payment. He says he believes that it’s important for developers to make it clear to users that they’re being charged.
“In the long term, FishHunt is going to keep changing for the better,” says Augé. “Players are making their needs known and we’re responding. We’ve got a great dedicated team on FishHunt and they care deeply about our players. We’re toying with a number of options for FishHunt. Given that MouseHunt [another HitGrab title] was just released in China, it would be great to see FishHunt reach that far.”
You can follow FishHunt’s progress with AppData, our traffic tracking service for social games and developers.