Review | Let’s Fish: Hooked On!
I’ll admit, when I first heard about Let’s Fish: Hooked On! I was more than a little intrigued. The game was developed by the team that also did SEGA Bass Fishing, which I enjoyed, and I have been a fan of other fishing titles in the past.
However, after playing Let’s Fish, I do have to say I felt let down by the repetition the game had to offer, along with just being left with the feeling that the whole experience was shallow.
The game dumps you off in the main menu with no real goal of where a solid starting point should be. The tutorial in the game is vague at best, giving a bunch of text in chunks for you to read through the process instead of a step by step walkthrough of mechanics. Even with the tutorial I was left feeling a bit vague on some catching elements.
Casting and reeling in are simple enough. After choosing a lure (which pros/cons of each one isn’t really explained), you cast out with circle before being able to slowly reel in, reeling in faster or letting the line out. You can also just instantly real in with square.
The questionable stuff comes with reeling a fish in. After hooking a fish on with either the left stick or touchpad, you’re supposed to just continue to reel the fish in while moving the left stick or touching the screen in the direction indicated to ease tension. However, indicators don’t always come up, sometimes forcing the line to break and you to lose a lure for the rest of an event. I never could figure out how to overcome when that happened. I tried to let the line out and stop reeling, but the tension still kept tightening and snapping the line.
Anyways, getting back to the game, there are three modes to play: challenge, world tour and training. They all feature the same goal, though: try to get the biggest fish (or fishes) possible in the shortest amount of time possible. The challenge mode features an actual time limit that goes down to zero, while the world tour shows an actual clock that ends the fishing when it hits a certain time. Why they don’t just use the same kind of clock style is beyond me.
As you go through, there are some new levels you can unlock to fish in, along with new and upgraded lures to try out, but fish seem to bite regardless of lure used. This actually may be my biggest complaint with the game, there just seems to be a lot of missed opportunities here. Whether through bad explanation or just not fleshing it out enough, the game never can shake just feeling shallow and almost like a mini-game instead of a fleshed out game.
One reason that adds to this mini-game feel for me is how you cast. You can’t really aim where you cast. You can move left and right on the land, but you always aim at the farthest point back from you. Sure, you can use less power, but why not let players move their cursor around and pick a spot? Also, why not just let players use a boat to move around the locations and pick fishing spots? It just seems like more missed opportunities.
Another missed opportunity is the special skills each character has. I’m sure they have some benefit or some definite way to use them, but I never could figure out how as I progressed along and the game never described it. More description on what the skills do or even how to use them would have been great.
Thankfully, in a game like this there are online rankings to compare your catches to in challenge mode. I noticed it doesn’t persistently update, though. You have to download an update each time through PSN to see the latest results. Considering how other games handle leaderboards, I’m not sure why this game requires extra steps.
Going back to the world tour, the mode does actually try to add a story mode to a fishing game using one of the four characters you can select. Given that it’s a fishing title, though, and that all dialogue is done by cutouts of the characters in front of static backgrounds, you never really get vested or interested in it outside of a mean of getting between one fishing tournament or training to the next.
There is one more mode, but I found it to be fairly pointless. It gives you an underwater view of every area so you can view the fish there. The problem is it’s the exact same view you have when reeling a lure in. I’m not really sure why it was added it, but it’s there if you want to check it out.
The only thing left to talk about is the graphics, which is also an odd choice here. Characters have a distinct anime feel to them, but environments and fish are realistic. I’m really not sure why they weren’t all done one way or another for consistency. Considering most of the game is done in the realistic settings, the characters just seem out of place when you see them.
Overall, Let’s Fish: Hooked On! had some solid basic concepts, but never really fleshed any out or designed them in a way to catch gamers in its net. Even fishing game fans may not be into the game for a long time. If you love fishing games, I say try this game out if you want to, otherwise look for your fishing hook elsewhere.