Survive! Mola Mola – Review

The “closest animal to heaven” has arrived!!
Take care of your mola! Brand-new nurturing game where “death=pleasure”

Molas are pretty distinct with a large and oddly-shaped body.
However, they are actually very delicate. The smallest thing can make them die (´・ω・`)
-From the gameplay summary by Select Button, Inc

I talked about it before over at Beneath the Tangles, but let’s talk a lot more about the Japanese mobile game Survive! Mola mola (Apple, Android).

If you haven’t played it before, Survive! Mola mola! is a game about the ocean sunfish, aka Mola mola. In the game, you play the role of a random newly hatched fish and you try not to die. That’s the game – don’t die. By pointing and clicking on food as it shows up on the screen, you feed the fish and get it to grow through the various stages of ocean sunfish development – from sugar ball to a king of the ocean. As the game progresses, you unlock “adventures” and earn points which can be used to also unlock different food items. The food ranges from jellyfish to lobster, the Mole mola are not super picky. The adventures are basically random tasks which mola mola will do in its life. These include encountering fishermen, swimming deeper to try to find more food, and trying to shake off parasites.

screenshotThe music and sound effects are old-fashioned midi-style music. Simplistic. Graphically, it’s cartoonish, sprite based images. There are minimal animations involved, such as fin flapping and minor mouth movement. Most of the visual action comes in the form of moving around the screen to capture food. Adventures are text descriptions of the situation from the perspective of the fish. It will show a general picture about what you are about to do and then with some text describe how your fish is feeling about it (spoiler – always scared to die).

As the game progresses your character will eventually die. When it does, the next fish you begin to control will be less likely to die…in the same manner of the one which just died. Deaths range from choking on shrimp shells to falling into the water and dying on impact to the area being too dark for the fish so it crashes into the ocean floor. Every bit of new food can kill you. Every new adventure can kill you. In each case they reach eventually 99% or more after dying in that manner enough times. Also, every new death (or new step of death toward the final 99% goal from that type) means your next Mola mola has a weight bonus and can get bigger faster. You can also use your points in the game to ensure there’s more food more often.

Once you have achieved the largest size in the standard game and died of old age, you can unlock a hard mode. I have not done so yet, because I want to maximize my deaths first before doing so.

The game is simplistic, graphically old fashioned, and yet compelling. No story, no difficult gameplay, but it’s a game I continue to go back to. Maybe only at 5 minute intervals, but it’s still an enjoyable time. Also, the interesting facts about the fish, it’s life, and how challenging it can be to be a Mola mola is fascinating. I’d recommend the game, even if only for a brief play through. It’s worth it and it will not take up much of your time. You can download Survive! Mola mola for both Apple and Android devices.

About the Author

Matthew Newman
Matthew Newman is a Christian environmental engineer (Professionally licensed in Maryland). He’s also a husband, beard aficionado, Dad of four beautiful children, blogger, and all around geeky guy from Baltimore County. When he’s not chasing his kids or working, he’s probably asleep.

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