- Editor's Rating
Fishing, a time for serenity, self-reflection, and … shotguns!?! Yes, this isn’t your grandfather’s favorite pastime, this is Ridiculous Fishing. Simple, meticulously designed, and of course out of its mind; Ridiculous Fishing is the epitome of game design on the iOS platform. Vibrant artwork, fits of humor, and addictively clean mechanics collide to create what is perhaps “the best fishing simulator to date”. Does it make sense? Not really, but will you care? I doubt it.
Easy to Learn
The mobile platform is notorious for its low barrier of entry, and Ridiculous Fishing is a perfect example that. The gameplay is comprised of three basic mechanics; casting the line, catching fish, and shooting said fish.
Tapping the screen deploys the line, and from there players can use the game’s tilt controls to avoid the various species of fish that populate the blue seas in an attempt to cast the line as deep as possible. Avoiding the fish seems a bit counter-intuitive at first, but the deeper players get, the more fish they’ll potentially be able to catch.
After coming in contact with a fish or running out of line, the second phase of the gameplay begins. The line will immediately begin retracting, and now players will have to try to catch all of the fish they were previously eluding; excluding jelly fish, which will result in a penalty if shot.
Once the line reaches the surface the fish will be thrown into the air, and the player must shoot them by tapping the screen with their fingers. Each fish the player manages to blast will earn them a cash bonus with the reward varying depending on the species.
Not only is the concept of the game easy to grasp and understand, but the mix of tilt and swipe controls come together beautifully. Every command feels intuitive and results in a lighting quick response, making the only limiting factor the player’s skill. Using a collection of the unique control inputs that mobile offers, this is one of the few games that demonstrates the potential of the mobile platform.
Once the gun smoke and fish guts settle, players will collect their earnings and can cast their line all over again. It only takes a few rounds to gain an understanding of the game’s mechanics, and subsequently that’s about how long it takes to become hooked.
After a few rounds players will have amassed the funds needed to purchase their first set of items. Everything from longer fishing lines, to more powerful weaponry, to strange costumes are available for purchase. Both humorous and tremendously helpful unlocking these items will allow players to catch more fish while adding a few nuances to the gameplay as well.
The game opens up when players get their hands on the Chainsaw Lure. As the name suggests this is a fishing lure with a chains saw attached to it. Once acquired players will be able to cut through fish and jelly fish alike, collecting cash while insuring that their line traverses even deeper into the abyss. It adds a new element of strategy to the gameplay where players have to decide when to dodge these obstacles, and when to cut through them. With a limited reserve of fuel, making the right decision can be the difference between catching a boatload of fish and coming up empty.
Best of all the balanced economy ensures that item progression never feels like a grind. Ridiculous Fishing could have easily implemented micro-transactions into game, but indie development team Vlambeer made a conscious effort to stay away from that. As a result players always feel like they are making progress and moving forward. Even the most unsuccessful runs bring players one step closer to that highly sought after upgrade.
Ridiculous Fishing’s clean mechanics and sound design will likely pull most players in, but it’s the game’s charm that entices them to stay.
“If I was to tell you that game where you blast fish into oblivion was a relaxing feel good experience you’d likely think I’m crazy; but I wouldn’t describe Ridiculous Fishing any other way.”
It all starts with the aesthetic. The stylized bright artwork coalesces with the cheerful music to create a sunny atmosphere. Each sea creature feels unique despite their basic simplistic design. In fact, a few are cute enough that players may hesitate to pull the trigger, but the satisfying sound of each successful catch quickly dissuades that notion as the cold hard cash piles up.
Time quickly fades away as the world is steadily unveiled. It begins with the humor that is sprinkled throughout. Literary references and notions of the game’s self-aware attitude populate the item shop. The game even hosts its own fake twitter feed affectionately referred to as Byrdr, which reveals detailed snippets about the world and its inhabitants while dishing out the occasionally welcomed pun.
Ridiculous Fishing is a game that doesn’t compromise. The game could have easily issued micro-transactions for a higher profit margin, but it doesn’t. It also just as easily could have stood on the merits of design alone, but it doesn’t.
Instead Vlambeer crafts a world infused with color, humor, and a subtle narrative. It’s incredibly gripping at first glance, and comes together to tell a larger story that will that leave players both surprised and wanting more.
Ridiculous Fishing is the perfect example of how well great game design and unique story telling can come together to create an experience that feels both familiar and fresh.