Get ready for excitement because scales are gonna fly! No,
that’s not right – fishing isn’t just
like MMA, we forgot. Programmer Yuji Naka is known mainly for being the
co-creator of Sonic the Hedgehog, which means he knows fast action. We had hopes he could bring some excitement to… fishing. Since 2006, Naka
and his company Prope have been the prime movers behind such family-friendly
games as Let's Tap. With Fishing Resort, Prope takes us on a sometimes-fun,
frequently tiresome excursion in an adventure-slash-fishing game for the
Fishing games on the Wii are a gimme, and here the Wii
remote becomes a fishing rod – almost literally, if you buy the game/controller
bundle. Some bundles aren't worth the higher asking price, but this one earns
the few extra bucks. The light-weight, easy-to-assemble controller lets you
combine the remote/Nunchuk into an ersatz rod and reel, and this makes the act
of fishing considerably easier. And that's good, because there's a lot of
fishing in this game. Let us repeat that - there's a lot of fishing.
You might think that goes without saying, but the game's
beautiful locations and light adventure elements do much (at first) to distract
you from it. You're checked in to a beautiful hotel on what looks like Fantasy
Island where you're treated to pretty rooms, friendly staff, boating, biking,
submarine tours, quests from the locals... sooner or later, though, fishing
must happen and before it can, you have to learn how to handle your tackle.
Juvenile innuendos aside, that means choosing and combining
rods, reels and bait - the better to do battle with the island's fishy
denizens. Every activity earns points that can be traded for gear. You're
taught float and lure fishing techniques, given a map of the island, and from
that point on, it's fish, fish, fish, all day (and night) long. Fish are rated
by size from E (meh) to S (superior) so the bigger the fish, the more points,
and more points means higher rank, new locations and new things to do. The
actual act of fishing is both fun and tiresome. The process of catching a fish
- waiting for a bite, then pulling up on the rod and using an onscreen gauge to
reel in the fish - feels fairly real and different fish have different
behaviors so catching them requires you to be both gear and fish savvy. On the
down side, fishing is innately repetitive and after an hour, the controller's
realistic reeling motion gets tough on the hands.
To avoid hand cramps, let someone else take the rod in the
game's unsatisfying multiplayer mode (which strangely, credits all fish caught
to Player 1) or take on managing a full-sized aquarium. Customizing the
aquarium and attracting visitors to it is somewhat fun but customization
requires points, so you'll inevitably have to do more fishing.
Fishing Resort tries, by adding leveling, quests and
building management, to be more than just a fishing sim. In doing so, it does
manage to be entertaining, with peripheral activities breaking up the repetition.
We wish it had gone farther with its extracurricular activities, as its core
enterprise requires nearly the same patience and stamina as does real fishing –
but of course those who don’t like the idea of fishing won’t be barking up this
tree anyway, right?