Ridiculous Fishing Review: Yeah, You’re Gonna Get Hooked
Sometimes, an iPhone game enters your life at just the right time, and there’s little you can do to keep from giving it every spare moment you’ve got until you reach the credits at the end. A couple things came together to make Ridiculous Fishing just that kind of game for me. First, I picked it up while on vacation in Florida, so I was already spending my mornings out in the surf with a rod and reel and had fishing on the brain. Second, I was also spending a lot of time giving my two-month-old son a bottle, which means I had exactly one hand for iPhone—and wouldn’t you know, that’s all Ridiculous Fishing requires… Okay, so those things are coincidental, but forget all of it—you’re going to love this game as much as I did because it’s just that ridiculously good.
The first line in this game’s iTunes description gets it right: “A handcrafted game about fishing with guns, chainsaws and toasters.” First of all, yes, it’s as weird as it sounds, but like the best of the iOS games out there, you can hardly put into words why it ends up being as fun as it is… Ridiculous Fishing began as a Flash game called Radical Fishing, but Vlambeer brought it into its current form and is now selling the title for $2.99. What you get for that price is plenty of challenge, a rewarding upgrade system, and the story of Billy—a fisherman with some emotional baggage.
Actually becoming a part of Billy’s journey unfolds a few different ways, and involves more than the standard “catch and release” experience you might have come to expect from fishing games… See, Billy doesn’t like to release anything; instead, after hauling up a catch (which might involve several hundred fish or so) he launches them into the air and then blasts them into oblivion using whatever weapon he has on hand (which might be a shotgun or two, an orbital ray, or maybe just akimbo miniguns.
But I’ve skipped ahead too far—what about gameplay? Ridiculous Fishing is a one-handed iPhone experience of the very best kind. Expect a major challenge to your reflexes as your line descends from Billy’s boat into the depths of your home waters, the Stormy Sea, Arctic Floes, or The Maelstrom. These fishing holes are of varying depths, and the goal is always to get as deep as you can, cause that’s where the rare (and valuable) species swim. So, it’s kind of counterintuitive, but for the first portion of a run-through, you’re actually looking to avoid the fish as long as possible. Then, once a fish gets snagged, the line automatically starts to be reeled in, and now you want to tilt the device and hook as many good fish as possible (the bad ones—the jellies, cost you money instead of bringing it in)… Last, but not least, once your line breaks the surface, the fish are thrown into the air and it’s a shootout. Blasting fish is accomplished by simply tapping the screen, and once you convert these swimmers into smitherings, their worth is counted to the run.
It sounds like a lot, but you’ll quickly become accustomed to the flow of the game, at which point it becomes all about upgrading Billy’s gear. This includes getting better guns, longer lines, fancier apparel, and yes, the toaster and chainsaw.
Hopefully my enthusiasm has made it obvious that Ridiculous Fishing comes with a strong recommendation, but it bears saying that at $2.99, the game is on the short side. It’s really not a problem, just don’t expect to be done by the time the credits roll and Billy’s story becomes complete. Chances are you’ll have more fishing to do, which a tribute to Ridiculous Fishing’s crazy addictive qualities… In an App Store where developers seem content to put out only slightly-modified endless runners in hopes of becoming the next big thing, Vlambeer and his team have proven that originality and execution win every time—no matter how ridiculous things get along the way.
Our Score: 4.5 Out of 5 Stars