iFishing Review—The Art of Letting Go

1

The last time I encountered a bite-sized fishing game was Flick Sports Fishing, an iOS-port Mini. It was interesting, for being a game that was all touchscreen with gyroscope support being ported to a platform having neither. Gameshastra did a commendable job translating the controls to the PSP’s analog nub, not to mention its stunning visual fidelity.

With iFishing, another iOS port in the fishing sim genre, everything seems to be a perfect match with the Vita: gyroscope, touchscreen, analog sticks, maybe the rear touchpad. Control schemes are bound to be bountiful. Then again, iFishing’s issues are never about the controls (though not even they are good) but rather its harrowing combination of insubstantial and tedious gameplay.

5

Reminds me of RPG Maker tiles.

Graphics are beautiful, with its photographic background and soothing water animation in 3D, compounded by the already glorious OLED screen. Still, it is pretty obvious that developer Rocking Pocket Games skimped in the graphics department, by providing a retro-esque pixel festival in its map screen instead of a 3D animated one. This is also the case in the original iOS game, but no excuses; since it was first released way back in 2009, it could have been updated or something. If it’s the case that this is a conscious decision to mix photography, 3D, and pixel graphics . . . well, why?

Controls are mostly touch when it comes to handling anything, except for the boat navigation and fishing part, where you reel with the right stick. Throwing the line is done by touching the screen. This never works to my liking since it seems the player character suffers a seizure in that moment, as he throws the line wildly in random directions. Setting the line is great with the gyroscope. Reeling in a hooked fish requires a little patience and technique because there is a line tension bar on the left hand side that, once filled, will snap the line. Switching baits takes longer than it should be because it is buried in the menu and could have been easier if the shoulder buttons had been used to swap those things.

Again, the game mechanics are tedious anyway, and actual gameplay is an introduction to bedtime. The objectives are too limiting; you are only to catch a certain kind of fish per tournament, and all other fish mean nothing and have to be let go. In order to unlock other lakes, you have to get a certain amount of points. There are other extra awards that come with playing the tournament, though, so you could always try to achieve them. Tournaments have time constraints which you have the option to choose, with five minutes the shortest and forty minutes the longest, five-minute increments being in between. In Practice Mode, obviously, you can keep all your fish, and nothing is lost but your own precious time.

The lake navigation is a wildly different experience from the rest of the game, just jarring. Mostly it’s because of the graphics, I believe. I had more fun with riding the boat than the actual fishing, and that is not a good sign if that is not what the game is all about. There is also a “Luck” meter that basically tells you that there are no fish in the area, or you are using the wrong lure, which is good if you don’t like the challenge. Luckily, you can turn it off.

9

There are lots of missteps in the game’s design, and it is disappointing that this is just a throwaway port with many missed opportunities. With the game being older than my stay as the guardian supreme of PSPMinis.com, there should have been improvements across the board, but instead, the multiplayer was omitted (well, it’s an exclusive feature with the iOS version, as Android also has none of it) and the price is just eye-rolling, costing almost twice as much as its iOS counterpart. If you are indeed considering this game for your Vita, I guess there are no other options but to let that desire go.

4/10

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Comments

6 Responses to “iFishing Review—The Art of Letting Go”
  1. JeremyR says:

    Apparently he’s going to a Pearl Jam concert after he gets done fishing.

  2. Chris says:

    Some points:

    1. How many other PSM games have multiplayer? There is no official multiplayer SDK on Vita or Android leaving me to run and maintain my own server for matchmaking. Something I’m not experienced with or have any desired to do as an indie developer.

    2. In real life most fishing tournaments are for a specific fish. You don’t just bring in everything you catch. There are bass tournaments, walleye tournaments, etc.

    3. When casting the line casts out in direction of the pole when you tap the screen, so you can aim your cast.

    4. The map screen is 2D because when the game was designed on iPhone, they weren’t powerful enough to show a full 3D lake with all the structures. I highly doubt PSM would be able to handle it as well because we don’t get to use the full power of Vita on PSM. So yes this is a port of an already hugely popular game on iPhone and Android with almost 500k sold. Why change something that is selling and rated well on other platforms?

  3. Aaron Jean says:

    1. I totally agree with this. No PSM games have multiplayer at the moment. It’s not fair to complain that this game doesn’t have it, since it’s on a platform that has no support for networked multiplayer.

    2. I don’t think everything that works in real life works for video games, but that’s a fair point. You do need some sort of objective-based play.

    3. This is something the game should be getting across.

    4. I’ve got to admit that that’s not a very pretty 2D lake, hardware limitations or not.

  4. Jasper Nikki says:

    1.) I should have been clearer, I am not looking for a multiplayer, but instead the lack of this feature should have been compensated with other additions, being the price is much higher.

    2.) That’s on me since I don’t know squat ’bout fishing. Should’ve researched on fishing tournaments.

    3.) Will check it again, as far as I remember, it does “wobble”.

    4.) First, 3D is not a big problem for this particular game, if it was implemented since Arctic Adventures is on 3D and it is a PSM game. The lake navigation part is just navigation, the lower fps on 3D could not come off as a problem just like Arctic Adventures. Paper Wars was as an iOS port of Crap of Defense, and was ported to the Minis years ago, the lack of other usual features are compensated by bundling the entire franchise (three titles) into one and was priced competitively.

    “Why change something that is selling and rated well on other platforms?” Kindly correct me I’m wrong, but this comes off as extremely arrogant. Several Minis and PSM ports had managed to enhance or drastically change their gameplay, altered/added more content, improved the controls and still was able to price their games competitively. You can’t expect to price a port of a 2009 game with less features and no enhancements that high without getting called out just because it sold well and got high ratings when it was released.

  5. Chris says:

    There is an update coming that will drop the price to match the Android and iPhone versions. It will also add the ability to take screenshots of your catch, and a Fish-A-photo mode that lets you fish using your own backdrop.

    I guess what I’m saying is as a developer on a new unproven platform it is risky to invest a lot of time on a game. The game was priced higher on Vita simply because there are fewer customers and I expected fewer sales. On IOS you can price a AAA title at $0.99 and still make a profit simply because of the millions of devices out there. Vita is a different market.

  6. giovanni says:

    ciao!!!!!

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