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 Nintendo Wii.
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?