Sounds Fishy review: "Reels you in, but doesn't always catch you"

Sounds Fishy box, counters, and cards against a white tile background
(Image: © Future)

GamesRadar+ Verdict

Even though it's not one of Big Potato's best games, Sounds Fishy still has enough on the menu to be plenty of fun. Accessible, breezy, and with a gorgeous design holding it all together, this is a good way to warm up the party or a games night. I just wish there was a little more beneath the surface.

Pros

  • +

    Quirky concept

  • +

    Easy to explain, quick to play

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    Great for board game beginners

  • +

    Tokens look amazing

Cons

  • -

    Gameplay lacks depth

  • -

    You'll eventually learn the cards

  • -

    Better with bigger groups

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On paper, Sounds Fishy is a slam dunk. I'm a fan of Big Potato projects and love its social deduction games, so this exercise in separating truth from lies must be a shoo-in as a new favorite. Right?

Well, sort of. The team's caught a clever idea in its net for Sounds Fishy, and there's plenty of fun to be had as you try to trick your way to victory. However, something I can't quite put my finger on holds it back from standing shoulder to shoulder with the ultimate party board games.

What is it, and how does it work?

Sounds Fishy box, open on a wooden surface

Like many games, Sounds Fishy tasks you with building up points - but it does that in a unique way (Image credit: Future)

Think you're good at sniffing out liars? Sounds Fishy puts that to the test. In this quick-fire game for up to 10 people, you take it in turns to read out a question everyone else can see the answer to. Those players then have to come up with a response based on the secret role they've been given at the start of the round. 'Red Herrings' have to make up something convincing on the spot, and they get points if they go undetected. Meanwhile, the 'True Blue Kipper' must say the real answer but ensure it sounds unbelievable. The sooner they can get eliminated, the bigger their payout. 

In other words? Sounds Fishy flips the usual formula on its head. Unlike Big Potato's other sneak-centric games (The Chameleon and Snakesss), the majority of you are telling fibs. As such, those who aren't fans of deception are better off giving this one a miss. 

Still, one key concept stays the same - it's easy to get into. Although you'll spend a hot moment getting your head around the points system (everyone uses slightly different rules), there's a pretty low barrier to entry here overall.

It's nice and quick, too; depending on how many players there are, you can finish a match in 15 - 20 minutes. Just don't forget to pause and appreciate the excellent production design. Each token has a lovely metallic shimmer running through it that would make the Rainbow Fish of childrens' books jealous, including points counters that are emblazoned with sea shell icons. If you ask me, it's Big Potato's prettiest game so far. 

Gameplay

Closeup of fish tokens and points from Sounds Fishy

Whoever has the True Blue Kipper has to try and get caught as soon as possible (Image credit: Future)

Sounds Fishy has a great elevator pitch. Picking out literal red herring answers is an easy sell that doesn't take any explaining, so getting enough players together isn't hard. You don't need to go into a long spiel about how it all works either, which is always a bonus (some of the best board games are too complex for their own good).

You'll also have a good time battling each other for points. The process of trying to weed out fibs from fact is engaging enough to keep you invested, and the same is true of those attempting to stay under the radar. Keeping players off your scent as a True Blue Kipper is an equally usual challenge; be too obvious and the jig is up, losing you the advantage.

Even board game novices are unlikely to feel lost

It certainly helps that the questions are bizarre enough to catch you off guard. Where is it illegal to fall asleep in South Dakota, for instance? A game like this lives or dies on the strength of its trivia, and Sounds Fishy passes the litmus test with gusto. Some answers are so strange that you couldn't make up anything weirder if you tried.

Accordingly, it's quirky and has plenty of character. There's no confusion about what you have to do during a match either, so even board game novices are unlikely to feel lost. 

The trouble is, it all lacks… bite. Not having to justify your response one way or another is a bit anticlimactic, for example, and while it's not necessarily a feature I wish was present, it's an example of there not being quite enough skill at play here. The Chameleon relies on a similar structure, but having to come up with a unique word for a topic each time (all while) is a satisfying challenge. That means it's near-infinitely replayable, too.

The same can't be said for Sounds Fishy. Actually, there's a danger of learning the answers to each question if you overplay it. That means it has a more limited shelf-life. 

Still, adding more people into the mix makes it better (it's easier to pick out fibs with fewer players). Plus, it's not like you won't have a good time - you will. And to be perfectly honest? That's probably all that really matters.

Should you buy Sounds Fishy?

Sounds Fishy reels you in with a great premise, but it doesn't always catch you - it needs just a little more substance to become a favorite in the long-term. 

However, it not being catch of the day doesn't mean you should ignore give up on Sounds Fishy. A very reasonable price and accessible, beginner-friendly gameplay makes it a party game worth considering... especially if you want something light and easy to kick off with.

How we tested Sounds Fishy

I played Sounds Fishy with different groups of varying sizes, and made sure I played each of its roles to get a better idea of what they were like.

For more information on our process, take a look at how we test products.

This copy of Sounds Fishy was provided by Big Potato Games.


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Benjamin Abbott
Tabletop & Merch Editor

As the site's Tabletop & Merch Editor, you'll find my grubby paws on everything from board game reviews to Lego buying guides. I have been writing about games in one form or another since 2012 and can normally be found cackling over some evil plan I've cooked up for my group's next Dungeons & Dragons campaign.