|Title: Let’s Fish! Hooked On|
Publisher: Wired Productions
Developed by: SIMS co., Ltd.
Release Date: 1/29/13
Time to suit up, grab your tackle, and hit the water for some fishing fun. Let’s Fish! Hooked On is an anime-styled fishing sim from the folks who brought you Sega Bass Fishing. I had never played a fishing game before this, but the graphics and the fact that it had a storyline got me interested in the title. I mean, a 40-hour story mode in a fishing game? That’s gotta reel you in right there.
The graphics are very solid for the most part and the environments look pretty realistic. There are several different locations to choose from, and each has varying features. Some locales are wide open, while others have tighter quarters. Some also have deeper places in the water than others, so you have to adjust your lures accordingly for this. Each locale also has different weather effects; these can range from the pouring rains of summer to a bright sunny day. The under the water graphics are great as well, with various plants, rocks, and debris along the water’s floor. The character models are done very well; you will see your anime style character casting out from the boat many times. The graphics engine holds up pretty well with only the occasional fish swimming through something solid or a texture popping in. I only have one minor complaint in this department, and it’s that the fish models look way too similar underwater, so it is hard to tell what kind of fish you are about to hook onto sometimes.
The music and sound effects are also done very nicely. The music fits the game well, with a somewhat relaxed soundtrack, but with guitar riffs – cause I am gonna tell you, fishing is a heart-pounding sport in this game for sure. The sound effects work to the game’s advantage. The ambient sounds of the environments are wonderfully done and represent each of the locales well. The sound effects truly shine under the water because of the lures. Each of the lures makes different sounds as they travel on top or under the water. This is a nice touch since lures in real life would behave in this way. Your characters are also voiced and they will say things such as “here fishy fishy” when a fish is getting close to your lure or “almost had it” when it is no longer interested. This is a simple, but effective, way to keep the game flowing, and it ensures you don’t keep your lure out there endlessly with no chance of anything biting on it.
The gameplay is rock solid in this one. You can use the Vita’s touch screen controls or the face buttons, whichever you prefer. I struggled with the touch screen controls, so I stuck with the face buttons, but the option to use either is there. There are a few different modes for you to choose from: World Tour, challenge mode, and a training mode. The tutorials in this game aren’t as useful as they could have been. They almost help you get a basic sense of what is going on, but fall way short. They fail to teach you the most basic part of hooking and reeling in fish. I had a really hard time starting out because this was the first fishing game I had ever really played. After about an hour of trial and error, I got the hang of it. The game is not overly complex or anything; I just had no experience with a game of this type, which made it a bit more difficult to start with. Challenge mode is a quick pickup and play mode, and the stages go by rather fast and challenge you to complete various tasks to finish them. Some require you to catch so many fish within a certain time limit while others require a certain weight. Each locale has 4 stages and upon completing each stage, you can choose a lure as your reward. When you unlock a lure here, it can be used in world tour mode as well.
World Tour mode is where each character’s story plays out. Each character has a different reason for entering the tournament and the plot changes based on who you pick. It’s a simple, but cute story, and it fits well with the character designs. You compete in fishing tournaments monthly, as well as do skill challenges. The tourneys have various requirements; some will be by biggest fish caught while others will be scored by total weight or number of fish caught. When you win a tourney, you are awarded points. At the end of the season, if you have amassed the most points, you will win the division and move on to the next. The completion of skill challenges awards you SP points, which you can spend to upgrade your character’s unique skills. For example, Jamie will learn “Chronos Hook,” which gives you a few extra seconds to hook your catch. When it is upgraded, it gives you even more time. You will need to earn as many points as you can because the tourneys get harder to win as you move up to the pro ranks.
The fishing gameplay is really simple once you get the hang of it. You cast with the circle button. Once your lure is in the water, you’ll notice an “allure gauge,” which shows how well your lure is doing to attract fish. Though some fish will only go after certain types of lures, this is basically trail and error. Just listen to your fisherman or woman and they will let you know if your lure is working or not. After a fish bites your lure, you press a direction on the d-pad or analog stick to hook ’em. They will put up one hell of a fight most of the time as they are being reeled in. You need to press directions on the analog stick or d-pad to prevent the line from snapping from the tension, which is known as “rod action.” It can be a huge fight to catch some of the bigger fish, but there’s no greater feeling than reeling in that first 20+ pound catch. I was just as excited as Jamie was. The only complaint I have about this is that you cannot screenshot your catches. You can screenshot every other Vita game, but not this one. It would have been nice to show off your prized catches with your friends. I don’t know why this was not included, but it is a shame.
In short, Just Fish! Hooked On is a great fishing game. This game may seem a bit repetitive, but if you enjoy a good fishing game, it won’t be an issue. The mechanics are sound, the environments are great, and the characters are solid. From the quick pick up and play challenge mode to the in-depth World Tour mode this game is fishing paradise. You get about 60 hours of quality fishing by the time you do the challenges and all of World Tour mode, and trophies and online rankings might take that even further. Despite a few complaints, this is a very good fishing sim with lots of great qualities. If you have a Vita and have any interest in fishing, I suggest you give Let’s Fish! Hooked On a try; it’s easy to get hooked.
For more on the game’s development, fish on over here.
Game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.