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Title: Reel Fishing: Road Trip Adventure
Publisher(s): Natsume, Inc.
Platform(s): PlayStation 4; Switch
Release Date: Summer 2019
Reel Fishing: Road Trip Adventure is one of those titles that you don’t expect to appeal to those people who don’t like fishing games. The series itself has been primarily a fishing simulation game in past entries, with any attempt at developing characters or a plotline secondary to the main quest…of fishing.
You play as Sean, and the relationship between him, Alice, and Neil are central to this fishing adventure. (Image courtesy of Natsume, Inc.)
Reel Fishing: Road Trip Adventure attempts to turn the franchise’s formula on its head by putting the RPG aspect first and foremost. You play as a fisherman with his two friends, Neil and Alice, who fulfill fishing quests that are given to them by a ghost. As you fulfill the fishing requests, the storyline progresses. What really sets this apart from other Reel Fishing titles though is that as you fish, you gather items alongside the fish. These items are used at the end of every fishing day by Neil to craft new items for fishing and by Alice to cook for you. Everything that is crafted, cooked, and caught also levels up at the end of the day at camp in a way that is reminiscent of FINAL FANTASY XV. The characters all talk and interact with each other in visual novel-style art in a way that it is clear that fishing is just the framework for the story that Reel Fishing: Road Trip Adventure wants to tell.
You use a combination of fishing rods crafted by Neil (seen above), food cooked by Alice, and fishing skills that Sean can unlock (below) to catch more and more difficult fish as you progress through this RPG storyline. (Images courtesy of Natsume, Inc.)
As for the fishing itself, it is simple to grasp. Select your fishing equipment, eat food for a bonus perk while fishing, and then select your fishing hole. During my demo, I visited two places: Pond and Great Lake. Both locations are of different difficulty and have different fish to catch as a result. I cast out my line and slowly started to pull it backwards to attract the fish. Once I did so, I found myself having to carefully maneuver the line around to avoid placing too much strain on it (indicated by when it turns red) to avoid snapping it as I reeled the fish in. Occasionally, the fish would jump out into the air and I would have to participate in one of the most forgiving QTE events I’ve seen in a video game to capture it further. During my Reel Fishing: Road Trip Adventure demo, I was able to reel in both Bluegill and Lake Trout. Both fish looked distinct from each other, and I automatically snapped a photo of each one.
The locations and fish themselves are gorgeously modeled, and they are definitely making long hours fishing easier on the eyes as a result (Images courtesy of Natsume, Inc.)
The fishing itself obviously varies with the rod I used, my location, and what I hooked, but I found it to be a lot of fun and very beginner-friendly (at least with the early on stuff). Most importantly, it was fun. This is a relaxing fishing game to play with interesting characters buttressing the plotline that frames the fishing. I am extremely glad, by the way, that Reel Fishing: Road Trip Adventure did not mandate motion controls to play, so I could potentially just sit and relax while catching fish to sell at the end of the day before I head back to camp as I try to become something akin to a river/pond/etcetera fishing king.
There are ten different fishing locations to explore in Reel Fishing: Road Trip Adventure. (Image courtesy of Natsume, Inc.)
Overall, this game was a lot of fun to play. There is a large variety (fifty-plus) items to craft and make, there are plenty of fish to catch, and I loved the interaction between the characters that are at the heart of this game. This is something I could see myself picking up to play on my Switch, for sure. Reel Fishing: Road Trip Adventure is currently scheduled to come out for PlayStation 4 and Switch sometime this summer, and I am ready to grab my rod and reel to go see what I can find in nature.
What kind of fish are you hoping to catch? What do you think of the new leveling system in Reel Fishing: Road Trip Adventure?