Dolphin Up (Wii U) Review

By Albert Lichi 09.02.2015

Review for Dolphin Up on Wii U

Remember Ecco the Dolphin on the SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis? That action adventure game where players play as a dolphin and explore the depths of the ocean meeting weird wildlife and extraterrestrials? Remember how beautiful it looked and how deep the gameplay was? Imagine all those fine qualities removed and what is left is a fairly approximate cross-section of Dolphin Up. Cubed3 dives deep into Rawkin Games' Nintendo Wii U eShop release.

Dolphin Up boots and the Rawkin Games logo comes up, sounds of the ocean can be heard. The screen fades in and what is seen is a flat and static piece of art depicting a beach and a poor dolphin stuck on the shore. Already the lack of effort is apparent by its title screen. Players pick between a few different porpoises, one of which is an Orca, all of which play identically from one another. Then it is onto selecting a stage from a very small amount of choices. None of them matter because all are flat and boring with every hoop randomly placed. The core game is that there are two minutes to perform tricks to get a high score… and that is it. After two minutes, gamers will have seen all that Dolphin Up has to offer.

The graphics are so very plain and simple. Things read well enough but they are very bland and forgettable. It all lacks style and feels so generic, like it could be Internet stock art. The playable porpoises do actually have some decent animation to them when they do their rotations, but that is the extent of how this game will impress. Ecco the Dolphin came out in 1992, so why does Dolphin Up have to look worse than that? Technology has improved so much and development has become so cheap to the point where almost anyone can make a game these days, so it makes no sense that Dolphin Up has to have such weak art. For what it is worth, the game does run smoothly and is actually responsive…

Screenshot for Dolphin Up on Wii U

During the two-minute time-frame, players have to perform tricks in an endless ocean with randomly placed hoops that boost speed. There really aren't a whole lot of tricks to do either, mostly just spinning, twirling or dashing and trying to make clean landings. Controlling the game is fairly easy to do and is very forgiving when it comes to its physics. This is where Dolphin Up's casual mobile game origin reveals itself and highlights how this type of game has no real place on Wii U. It is very difficult to get invested in a game like this on a console because it is meant to be a stupid time-waster while standing in line to get a burger or to access an ATM. There just isn't anything to this game and finding the will to play it again is a tiring struggle. Does score in a game like this really matter? There are no other porpoise to unlock and no other barren oceans either. There is just the one goal every time - score points.

Every week the eShop gets more mobile ports of casual games. There is clearly an audience for these types of games, but why bother playing them on a Wii U? It seems like the type of person who would enjoy this would either already have it, or have one of its many derivatives on their mobile device anyway. Any child would get bored or frustrated by the lack of things to do in Dolphin Up!

Screenshot for Dolphin Up on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 2 out of 10

Very Bad

This is as barebones as a game can get and could probably be played on a browser for free. The audacity that Rawkin Games has to charge four dollars for this barren application is insulting. Players are better off buying Ecco the Dolphin from the Wii Virtual Console store if they must have a dolphin game. There was some effort put into the character animation and physics, but that alone does not warrant a recommendation for any game. Dolphin Up is a shallow title that is most certainly not dolphin safe.






2D Platformer



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  2/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?

There are 1 members online at the moment.