by Joe Matar1
Ridiculous Fishing Review
Ridiculous Done Right
Fishing has been scientifically proven to be the most boring thing in existence. Luckily, video games have come along to spruce up humanity’s lamest pastime! No more sitting around; just chuck in your lure and rack up fish instantly! And who actually wants to go through the process of gutting and cleaning your catch? Fling those fish into the air and then blow them to smithereens with a wide assortment of artillery! Yes, Ridiculous Fishing is about providing fast, crazy action that’s easy for anyone to jump into coupled with enough strategy and depth to satisfy the hardcore set.
Ridiculous Fishing is played vertically. You tap the screen to cast your line. As it descends through the ocean depths, maneuver it left and right by tilting your Android in the respective direction. You actually want to avoid the fish for as long as possible; the moment you touch one, the line begins its ascent to the surface with its catch in tow. It’s on the way back up that you attempt to snag every sea creature in your path. There’s no limit to how many fish (and turtles and crabs and other, odder things) you can reel in, so the goal is to try and maximize your haul. Once you reach the surface, the fish are flung skyward. At this point, tap to blast them with your gun.
Every type of fish killed has a dollar amount assigned to it, with jellyfish being the only thing you don’t want to catch at all as they subtract from your payout. Once you’re done shooting, head to the store to purchase various accoutrements to assist in murdering more fish in style: new lures, longer fishing lines, different hats, and more powerful weaponry. Longer lines allow for the possibility to reach rare fish at sea bottom. Some weapons are automatic, so you can keep your finger pressed to shoot continuously. Most useful, a gas-powered sawing lure lets you press down to drill through any fish in your path as you descend (at least until you run out of gas).
There are no lives or energy bars; you just cast your line over and over to your heart’s content. As you progress, you’ll encounter fish that cannot be drilled through, secret fish that must be caught with unique strategies, and cash-sapping jellyfish that multiply every time you kill one. But you’re still most likely to make a profit each time you cast your line, so the game relies on the player creating personal challenges for himself. You’ll want to outdo yourself as you try to get deeper into the ocean and rack up larger numbers of fish.
One might think Ridiculous Fishing too casual an affair, but it’s more complex than it initially lets on. For one, there are multiple goals to pursue at once. Buying up everything in the store is fun and worthwhile, but is not technically how you progress. There are four different areas to fish in, unlocked by catching a specific number of different species, as detailed in a “Fish-o-Pedia” replete with photos and absurd descriptions (e.g., “Man-o-War: R u jelly?”) for every fish you’ve caught. Further, completely unexpectedly, there’s a way to trigger an awesome end cutscene. You won’t even realize you’ve been working toward it until you suddenly get there.
The presentation rounds out Ridiculous Fishing’s package. Each area looks and sounds different, both in and out of the water. The first level, Home Waters, features pleasant clear skies, blue waters, and light-hearted tuneage, while the Maelstrom has you fishing at sunset in a bottomless body of brown, purplish, and black waters with a spooky backing track. The game goes for the 16-bit era look, but it’s well-detailed with birds populating the skies and silhouettes of creatures drifting through the underwater backgrounds. There are other charming details like how you start out in a dinghy on the first level, but end up in a Viking ship by the end. It’s also continually satisfying to watch fish explode in bloody clouds when shot, accompanied by a squelchy, popping sound.
Each fish is colorful and unique in design so that when you encounter a new species you’ll recognize it as such. The chiptune music fits the imagery and sounds good. The only questionable design issue is how the music plays normally on your line’s descent downwards and in reverse when you ascend. It’s a clever enough idea, but you’ll typically spend far more time going up than down and these tracks frankly sound a lot better playing forwards.
Ridiculous Fishing’s biggest drawback is a technical one. On my Galaxy Nexus, it suffers major slowdown the longer it’s played. I can generally only fish four or five times before things start pausing sporadically and it only gets worse if I keep at it. As the whole experience is hinged on reacting and dodging, it totally decimates play when the action reacts to your movement even a split-second later.
Ridiculous Fishing strikes an impressive balance between casual and complex gameplay. It’s super easy to pick up, but requires deft reflexes to succeed at. There are multiple goals to accomplish, but you can still have fun ignoring the lot of them. It’s a great game to personally challenge yourself with or just to let your friends have a quick go on. Some major slowdown mars extended play on mid-level devices, but this is the only real drawback. Fishing is finally fun! Now somebody just needs to do something about baseball.
Is it Hardcore?
Summary: Casual and hardcore make friends in a fast, fun, and continually rewarding gameplay experience.