LightFish is a fast paced puzzle game in the vein of the old arcade classic Qix, and it's a superb one at that.
For those of you that have never played Qix (or one of it's many versions) a little explanation is needed. Each level in the game consists of a rectangular playing area that contains various enemy sea creatures and, more often than not, a few obstacles. You control a little fish that can swim along the edges of the level and, as long as you stick to the edges, you will mostly be safe from the other creatures. By holding down the A button you can venture off the borders and into the level itself, drawing a neon line behind you wherever you go. Should an enemy touch you or your trail you will lose a life, however, if you manage to box an area off with your line, that area gets colored in and becomes part of the level's border. This creates a new edge for you to move along safely, but also results in the playing field getting smaller and therefore more crowded making it harder to navigate safely in it. To make life easier you can dispatch enemies by trapping and boxing them off, however they will respawn after some time, so you must act quickly. To complete a level you need to color in 75% or more of the playing area, after which you will be given a score and awarded a rating of between zero and three stars. To get a good score and rating you will need to finish the levels quickly and kill as many enemies as possible, as they act as multipliers, while losing as few lives as you can.
As you progress through the game, you will come across new enemies, fortunately the game gives you a description of their movement and attacks as they are introduced. It's well worth paying attention to these, as they will help you predict the creatures' behavior, thereby making it easier to avoid them. A few obstacles are thrown into the levels to help keep things interesting, and these consist of reefs (areas you can't move through), lava (if you touch these areas you lose a life) and ice (areas where your movement is slowed down to a crawl).
The visuals in LighFish are done in bright neon, making the levels bright and clearly defined. The music ranges from atmospheric piano to some more techno inspired pieces.
There are a total of 45 levels to play through, which offer a good chunk of gameplay, and chasing after the 3 star rating on each one provides a decent amount of replayability. There is also a Time Trial mode, which sees you trying to complete levels before a timer runs out.
Overall, I found this to be an excellent game. The original arcade Qix games focused on killing the player as often as possible by making enemy movement completely unpredictable and having them hover near the player at all times, whereas LightFish, with it's clearly defined enemy behavior rules, makes for a less punishing game that rewards paying careful attention as well as quick reflexes.