ULTRA-INDIE Daily Dose: How Fish is Made Permeates My Membrane

How Fish is Made is a game that taps into my fever dream neurology, I have an eerie sensation of Deja vu with sounds of fleshy wet scales moving across the corroded wet steel with service lights sparking on and off. It’s a pretty grim game, atmosphere and all, with no music it’s an eery silence and wet tapping like the droplets of a leaky faucet.

A lot of low poly and retro-styled games use style to fill in where content lacks. How Fish is Made for the most part keeps its pace, The various fish that populate the haunting limbo of this dungeon are animated to their own character. Even with the limited anatomy of fish they can flail with glee and terror or bob enthusiastically. There is a surprising amount of sensitive material from sexual material, trypophobia, and mortality. While much of it sets the tone of dread and unease that sits in the depths of mortality there are some points that are just disgusting. Intentional negative responses are all fair game in art and media but shocking content I grade by how it elevates the experience the creator has made. I’m not too confident when shock material is simply put in my face and only makes me feel disgusted when that was already achieved with more finesse through the rest of the game. The dark hallways filled with decrepit and warping machinery and visceral are excruciatingly dreadful with each fish you run into being a glimmer of relief grounding the experience back to safety, as far as the interior of this machine could be safe at least. There is humor to be found, some morbid, much of it is seeing the friendly fish characters wrap the horrifying events into their own worldview and making their own interpretation in a manner their brains are wired to.

The central theme of How Fish is Made is dire, it’s about finality and the ephemerality of choice. What it emphasizes is not just the dreaded outcome but the grueling steps along the way that leaves consequences to the company you meet along the way. I’ll keep it vague to not spoil the ending but it maintains a binary to conclude the story through physical want or spiritual want. While I did mention the heavier material splinters from the thematic experience the overall project is cohesive and I do recommend anyone interested definitely give it a play. I will include that in addition to the Trypophobia warning on the game’s startup do be aware of disturbing live footage of animal tissue and parasites.

While repeated playthroughs wore down the foreshadowing dialogue that initial experience was incredibly tantalizing which is to the credit of all the developers involved. If you are interested in giving this sublime sardine slide a slip you can get it at Itch.io Kasuraga

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