Title: Let’s Fish: Hooked On
Release Date: January 29, 2013
Publisher (Developer): Wired Productions (SIMS Co.)
ESRB Rating: “Everyone”
I loved Sega Bass Fishing. Really though, I enjoy most fishing games that look good or have some kind of unique gimmick to get you hooked. I’m a big fan of the Legend of the River King series from Marvelous Interactive, devoured the Wii Fishing Master games and was surprised by the sweetness of Fishing Resort. Unfortunately, Let’s Fish: Hooked On, a game I had high hopes for, pales in comparison to these other titles. I really wanted it to be good, to be a robust game like Sega Bass Fishing or a fun time-sink like Fishing Master. It is most definitely not.
Almost everyone’s fishing for the same reasons
Let’s Fish: Hooked On‘s main focus is a World Tour mode, in which four different characters compete in tournaments to try and become the very best fisherman or woman in the world in the hopes of becoming the World Champion. For Ryuji, Jamie and Kano, the three basic characters, their motivations are pretty much the same. Ryuji wants to be a champion like his dad. Kano’s doing it for love of the sport and to meet other people with similar interests. Jamie’s doing it pretty much because Ryuji and Kano are there and she wants to prove herself.
The only one whose story is any different is Ai. Ai is a girl from the magical world. In order to pass her final test and become a full magical girl, she has to go to the regular, human world and become the World Champion fisherman. Oh, but she can’t use any of her magic to accomplish that goal. Which means instead of being interesting, her story is just as dull as the other three leads.
Not that the Let’s Fish: Hooked On story is really important. Story segments are few and far between, aside from some initial exposition and closing segment.
Cast. Reel. Repeat.
First, you have to play the Let’s Fish: Hooked On tutorial. I went in, assuming the World Tour story mode would have a brief summary of what to do and ended up failing the first round. So yes, the tutorial is mandatory. It only teaches you the basics of how to fish, via text explaining each control, and doesn’t discuss what characters’ special skills even do, how to pick a lure, how to make that lure appealing to fish via movements or where to even look for fish. A few sample casts and catches in Training is mandatory if you want to move on and actually succeed in the World Tour or Challenge modes.
On to those modes. Both of the Let’s Fish: Hooked On affairs have people going through the same motions, repeatedly, in the hopes of catching as many fish as possible within a certain amount of time. There are apparently goals to win, but you aren’t really told what they are. I found as long as I kept fish and catching, and caught at least five fish, I’d win whatever World Tour tournament I’d entered or Challenge I’d undertaken.
Catching a fish is quite easy. You choose any lure available to you. It really doesn’t matter which one, so I suggest going with one you’ve used the most. Odds are, you know how to make it “appealing” via trial and error. Perform a cast in which the gauge is completely yellow when you release, so the lure lands right against the shore or dock. Wait. While some lures do require movement to be more appealing, I found fish will go for any lure so long as it’s right next to their head. After about 20-40 seconds, a fish will decide if it will bite or not. If it hasn’t bit by that time, it won’t. If it does, you set the hook must be set by moving the rod in the right direction and begin the 1-2 minute fight to reel it into the boat as you occasionally pause to move right or left so it doesn’t break the line.
If you think I’m joking about the time, I’m not. I had a friend time me as I played through Let’s Fish: Hooked On. The same can be said for the entire process. You cast, wait, set and then slowly reel. There’s no need for strategically picking the right lures. I don’t ever recall using any of my character’s special skills. Most times, I didn’t even have to move my boat once I found a spot where fish were congregating in an area. All I had to do was keep repeating those motions until time ran out and the game said I won. Note: once I understood how to play, I always won.
I’m torn about the Let’s Fish: Hooked On touch controls. On one hand, they’re much easier and far superior to the standard controls that use the analog sticks and buttons. It’s really hard to mess up when the on-screen virtual buttons and gauges are flashing and telling you exactly what to do. On the other hand, these touch screen controls obscure most of the screen and make it difficult to actually see the fish.
Of course, that isn’t such a terrible thing. The prettiest thing about Let’s Fish: Hooked On is the locations. I wish the game had allowed screenshots, because I would have shown you. The lakes, rivers and resorts are downright picturesque. Which is in sharp contrast to the rest of the presentation. The fish look decent, but pale in comparison to Wii and even PS2 fishing games I have played. Unfortunately, I saw two instances in a one hour play period where two fish seemed briefly to meld into one entity. Though I am familiar with several freshwater varieties, I barely recognized one as a black bass. The official characters, Jamie, Ryuji, Kano and Ai, are just as jarring. They looked like they stepped out of an off-brand anime, complete with terrible dubbing by voice actors that don’t really fit the character. Jamie is probably the least offensive of the four, if I had to pick one and play with the volume up.
There are good ideas, but Let’s Fish: Hooked On doesn’t act on them.
I think I understand what SIMS Co. was trying to do with Let’s Fish: Hooked On. It wanted to have a fishing game with a quirky, anime story and characters with skills that could level up and greatly impact their performance. The problem is, the story just isn’t any good. I never even noticed the skills in practice, even when I took time in World Tour to level them up. I didn’t care about the assortment of lures or locations, because neither influenced gameplay in any way.
Do you know what I would have loved and played the hell out of? A Let’s Fish: Hooked On that was tweaked to revolve totally around the character Ai. She had the most potential – a girl who’s fishing to save the magical world. She could have used various kinds of magical spells instead of a standard rod and reel. The story could have been ridiculously silly and fourth-wall-breaking. She could have had magical duels with rivals between tournaments. Alas, it was not to be and Let’s Fish: Hooked On is a repetitive, dull fishing game.
Site [Let's Fish: Hooked On]