Fishing in Paradise
FishIsland: Fishing Paradise is a Korean MMORPG with a unique twist: fishing is the heart of the game, not a minigame. You will spend your time out at sea on your boat, grinding away as you would in any MMORPG—but you are collecting fish instead of battling monsters. The game is surprisingly fun and NHN Pixel Cube clearly took time to make a visual masterpiece. The colors pop, the fashion options are cute and desirable and even the fishing itself is engaging and rewarding. Like any modern (mobile) MMORPG, FishIsland is not without its share of microtransactions and reward systems that can take away from the pure experience of leveling your character. But this title dials it back a little, allowing more room for the game’s fantastic style and simple gameplay to shine through.
Fishing with a Scenic Simplicity
FishIsland has a lot going for it. Allow me to reemphasize the visuals, as they are stunning as they are crisp. The game runs at a smooth 60 fps, about as much as you can ask for on a phone or tablet, and the design is perhaps the strongest point of the game. Similarly, the music is decent, while sometimes repetitive, and backs the visuals in creating an exciting yet peaceful environment to casually collect fish.
The fishing itself is straightforward but different from a traditional fishing experience in a videogame. There is no lure phase. As soon as you cast your line, you are greeted with a series of rhythm-game like mechanics. Small circles appear along the surface of the water, and when your line crosses over a circle, you tap the screen to deal damage to the fish. It plays similarly to DDR, in that you deal more damage to the fish by more accurately hitting the circle. Hitting multiples of 10 circles in a row with no misses yields more damage. Once a fish has taken mortal damage, a cutscene plays akin to a victory screen in a turn-based RPG, and the fish is yours.
Alongside fish, players can collect Spirits, animal-like collectible units, that can be used to supplement your damage while in fish-combat. These deal automatic damage to the fish you are trying to capture, as well as adding extra passive effects such as reducing the enemy’s movement speed by 15%. The spirits spawn in the water like fish, making grinding a little more exciting and chance-based. Likewise, spirits are attainable through a gacha-like gambling system within the game.
Casting the Market toward a Better Direction
FishIsland: Fishing Paradise does a good job of getting free players to stick around. The rewards you can obtain from the premium shop are also obtainable for a free player—but at the cost of more time. This can be a huge negative for a free-to-play title, however FishIsland gives ample opportunities to receive daily rewards, login rewards, and premium currency from completing in-game objectives. This progression is understandably slower than simply buying your way through the game, but it offers a playable experience that never left me feeling like I really needed to buy anything.
Supplementing the ability to farm premium resources at a decent rate is the autoplay feature. While fishing, you can equip different bait to find unique fish. As a login reward, each player can receive stacks of bait that both increase EXP generation up to 500% and allow auto-fishing. Typically, I’d be wary of any autoplay, but its availability to free players makes it a welcomed inclusion, one that proves very profitable.
Plenty of Fish in the Sea
While it’s true that some of this game can feel excessive at first, the abundance of things to do is hardly a drawback. There is a PVP mode, story quests, side quests and a constant flow of items as either additional drops from catching a fish, or from completing events. When out fishing, you can see other players doing the same. If you like, you can add them to your friends list and share social currency with them.
Surprisingly there are 4-player Raids in this game. While at first seeming silly, these raids are a nice change of pace where you find yourself equipped with a cannon, racing alongside a giant sea-beast, trying to whittle its HP down with your friends (or solo if you’re really hardcore). These challenges are fun and truly difficult. Missing any of your shots in a raid or larger boss battle will result in a loss of 1/5 or more of your HP value. Other events include playing the marketplace, selling and buying items and fish from other players as well as challenge events where you compete to catch certain fish species at different sizes and weights.
If you enjoy the occasional fishing game, rhythm game or just want a rewarding and challenging MMO, take a dive into this charming game. It’s not for everyone, but if you find yourself retreating to collect fish in most of the RPG’s you play, why not fish full-time in this one? With plenty to do, FishIsland: Fishing Paradise will keep you entertained without feeling the need to dip into your wallet.
Is it Hardcore?
This game is beautifully animated with many systems to keep free players engaged and moving forward. As a free-to-play title it is not without its faults, but it makes notable steps in the right direction.