Fishbowl preview - bringing back that warm, familiar feeling

Fishbowl's short demo inspires confidence in the upcoming indie life sim
Fishbowl is a coming-of-age adventure in self-isolation.
Fishbowl is a coming-of-age adventure in self-isolation. / imissmyfriends

We all like games that make us feel warm and cozy. Sometimes it’s about the little things in life, and that’s what Fishbowl celebrates. The upcoming indie game from a two-person team in Goa boasts a gorgeous pixel art style and celebrates self-care while dealing with themes of grief and the effects of self-isolation. After finishing its short demo, I’m confident that developer imissmyfriends has something special that will speak to everyone.

Fishbowl is a coming-of-age adventure about Alo, a twenty-one-year-old settling in a new city, away from home. While we’re over three years away from the dreadful COVID-19 pandemic, the game reminds me of the times we were all stuck in our homes, forced to deal with problems near and dear to us. It’s no surprise to learn that it was being developed primarily during the pandemic. While there’s no explicit mention of the pandemic, there are enough hints to suggest when the game is taking place.

A young female protagonist drawn in pixel art, inside a black void with text: "It's just you and a few lonely flowers"
Fishbowl explores themes of grief and self-isolation. / imissmyfriends

Moving to a new place, especially with no friends or loved ones nearby, can be tough. We try to cling to the little bits of social interactions through other means, and that often starts at work. Unfortunately, Alo isn’t given that privilege. 

The twenty-minute demo offers a concise idea of the game’s ambitions. Fishbowl’s story will take place over a month, and the demo only lets you play until the end of day one. But a lot can happen in one day. However, unlike Persona, Fishbowl is not about managing your limited time, or at least that’s what the demo suggests.

Screenshot from video game 'Fishbowl' w/ pixel art graphics, showing a young woman conversing with another over a video call
Video calls are an essential part of the game. / imissmyfriends

Interactions in Fishbowl are simple, usually taking cues from visual novel games. It’s all about getting inside Alo’s mind, weighing small, but consequential decisions that may shape how the world views Alo. Should she confess her insecurities about her new job to her mom? You get to decide that.

Fishbowl's video editing minigame can be tougher than it looks.
Fishbowl's video editing minigame can be tougher than it looks. / imissmyfriends

There are also a few minigames available in the demo. For starters, “unpacking puzzles” will have you sort through Alo’s belongings, with each item revealing something from her past. A fun video editing minigame takes cues from Tetris, albeit not as complex. I’m sure there are other minigames waiting to be revealed in the final game but even if this is it, it should be enough to support a short story.

By the end of the first day, the game’s first twist reveals itself – a toy fish that Alo’s recently deceased grandma (Jaja) gifted her comes to life. Meet paplet! Who is she? We have no idea, but what matters is that she’s going to help Alo rediscover her memories and confront her feelings. It looks like Alo won’t be staying alone after all, but we only get a tease of this budding relationship in the demo.

Screenshot from video game 'Fishbowl' with pixel art graphics, showing a toy fish conversing with a young female protagonist.
I'm already in love with Paplet. / imissmyfriends

Like with most cozy games, Fishbowl features a chill, lo-fi soundtrack. This is a welcome change compared to other games from India that usually feature stereotypical elements of classical Indian music. That idea carries over to the general presentation and writing as well. There are neat easter eggs and references that only desi people will understand, like deciding whether to eat a paneer sandwich or cup noodles.


The game was included in the first cohort of titles for PlayStation’s India Hero project, and this is the first taste we’re getting of that initiative. For a debut game, Fishbowl seems to be doing a lot right, learning the right lessons from other games in its genre. Cute visuals? Check. A story that will tug at my heartstrings? Done. A nod to video editing? I’m in.

We don’t know when Fishbowl will be released, but judging by the quality of the demo, I think it has to be soon, or at least I hope so. I can’t wait to learn more about Alo, her relationship with Jaja, and how she settles into her new life.

Fishbowl is currently in development for PC and PS5.

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Rahul Majumdar


Rahul is a writer and filmmaker from India, currently navigating the entertainment industry in Mumbai. With a keen interest in film, video games, and the tech that drives them, Rahul has written for multiple outlets like TechQuila, IGN India and IndiaTimes. He has also worked on some shows and films you may or may not have heard of, although he vastly prefers gaming binge-sessions. His favourite games include The Witcher 3 (how original), and Assassin's Creed games of yore, and he's trying his best to get into more Nintendo games. When not rambling about pop culture in blogs, you can usually find him doing the same in bite-sized chunks over at Twitter (or whichever platform is popular at the moment)!