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"Finding Dory: Just Keep Swimming" app features beautiful design, challenging gameplay

"Finding Dory: Just Keep Swimming" app features beautiful design, challenging gameplay

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The long-awaited sequel to "Finding Nemo" arrives in theaters in little more than a week. To help raise awareness of this highly-anticipated Pixar Animation Studios production, Disney Digital Books and Seven2 have released the "Finding Dory: Just Keep Swimming" app. Which is a fun, interesting storytelling experience geared towards kids that's jaw-droppingly gorgeous. 


Copyright Disney Pixar. All rights reserved

Using your finger, the player guides the world's most famous Blue Tang through a variety of levels where she collects bubbles while relaying the story of "Finding Dory" to the player as she remembers it. To poke fun at Dory's faulty memory, and get the player a little more involved in the story, at the beginning of each level you're invited to select items based on vague descriptions from Dory (For instance, on one level I got "Wait, I forget. There's this deelybob, and ... Woah! It always makes a noise much louder than you expect." And the options I was then given were a pizza, a pinwheel, and a cheese grater.) that later appear in the levels. It's always good for a laugh. Like when you're racing through a level and suddenly have to smack through about twenty lollipops in the middle of the ocean.


Copyright Disney Pixar. All rights reserved

The storytelling within "Finding Dory: Just Keep Swimming" is very interesting. And boy is the design within the game pretty. Before and after each level, these fantastic models of Dory & Marlin (and occasionally other characters) retell parts of the story to the player. And when you fall behind in the game, rather than losing a life, you lose some bubbles and hear Marlin very gently scold Dory about telling the story wrong. (So, uh, heads up. "Finding Dory: Just Keep Swimming" really does seem to basically just summarize the movie. But if you're worried too badly about "Finding Dory" 's story being spoiled, don't worry. The app development team actually had a very clever workaround for this. Where the last two levels of the game won't be released until after the movie is. Pretty darn smart!) 


Copyright Disney Pixar. All rights reserved

But okay, wow, the design of the game is fantastic. The environments and character designs are gorgeous, and while simplified, still feel very strong. Particularly the simplified 3D models. "Finding Dory: Just Keep Swimming"  's use of environment to create depth is beautiful, and the music is absolutely gorgeous. I did notice some errors in the animation in the tank-based levels (with red boxes surrounding the fin and eyes of every fish in certain tanks). But it didn't affect the gameplay at all.


Copyright Disney Pixar. All rights reserved

Speaking of gameplay, wow! I didn't expect "Finding Dory: Just Keep Swimming" to be this intense. The game scales up difficulty the further you get into the levels, which can be interesting when steering Dory is already somewhat difficult. Early levels I'm absolutely sure kids can manage. However later levels may require adult help. But there's a fun variety to the levels. In some you have to keep a certain pace or you'll lose bubbles. In others, you can freely explore to find objects hidden throughout the maze. In others you're being chased while dodging attacking objects. I didn't go into "Finding Dory: Just Keep Swimming" expecting much, but I came out excited for more levels.


Copyright Disney Pixar. All rights reserved

Now, just a little complaint: There's an annoyance factor you should be wary of if you're a parent handing this off to your kid to play, and your volume is on. Certain sound effects repeat ... A lot. There's a level in particular, Level Nine, involving beluga whale sounds that plays over ... and over ... and over ... and over. It's not great. But thankfully, you can adjust the volume of "Finding Dory: Just Keep Swimming" 's sound effects through the options menu.


Copyright Disney Pixar. All rights reserved

If you're a fan of "Finding Nemo," or are just a fan of nice artwork in games, you should definitely give this app a spin. Just keep in mind "Finding Dory: Just Keep Swimming" 's price tag of $3.99. With eleven levels out, and two more on the way, it's a fun time you can get on Microsoft's Windows 10 store, and the Google Play and Apple App Store. If you have Apple TV, or the Amazon App Store for Android and want to play, you'll get your chance later this month.

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