SEGA Bass Fishing on the Dreamcast is arguably one of the greatest fishing games ever made. It has its own fishing rod peripheral and was a genuine joy to play. There were a long line of ‘me too’ titles that followed, with many on Sony’s PS1 console, which ranged from awful to fairly decent. None though could match the fun of SEGA’s effort.
Let’s Fish! Hooked On from SIMS Co tries to recreate the fun that was to be had with the Dreamcast game. What we have here is an arcade fishing game that adds a story mode to drive the game forward. It has some nice ideas, but fails to deliver on the whole.
First off, what made SEGA Bass Fishing so good, was the use of the fishing rod that came with it, using this really drew you into the game. What Lets Fish! tries to do is recreate that sense of involvement by moving the action from just a series of button presses and using the Vita’s touch screen abilities.
The problem here is that this doesn’t quite feel intuitive enough. The layout is fine and the on screen prompts are clear, yet something just feels a little off, the game plays a lot better using the optional button controls. You can react quicker and the inputs feel a lot more reactive than the touch screen.
The game plays out much how you’d expect, you cast your line aiming to the general area you want, then using a power gauge you work out your cast length and accuracy. You dangle and tease your bait under the water until you get a bit, then enter a series of Quick Time Events as you attempt to reel your fish in. You need to reel it in, while keeping your catch on the line as well as making sure the line tension doesn’t go too far and end up snapping.
It has been a formula tried and tested many time previously and as said the touch controls offer nothing ground breaking, keeping you playing with the buttons instead. The other area the development team to to make Let’s Fish! stand out is the story mode progression. You pick your character and essentially the idea is to take them to the number one fisherman in the world. Players are presented with a calendar of events from which they can enter, each varying in difficulty.
Each event has a series of objective, which range from simply winning the tournament with the biggest haul, or meeting challenge criteria which help the player level up. All fairly standard stuff, but it is well presented and does a decent job of moving players through the game. Again it isn’t groundbreaking and just gets the job done.
There is a tutorial included, but it simply just takes you through the control system. It fails to explain the different baits and where they are useful. Nor does it tell you why you should do certain things once your line is cast. There is almost a view here that people are playing this and that they have come in from a fishing background. Not explaining what different baits will attract different fish is a major oversight. There isn’t even a library or compendium of the different types of fish.
That being said, it isn’t a bad game, once you feel your way around for a while, you do start to work out the little quirks and what you should be using, where you should be using things and what effect it will have on your ability to catch fish. The World Tour mode is fairly meaty and there is a lot of variation to the locations (well as much as you can get with lakes) and the moments you catch a fish are rewarding.
The Anime style cut-scenes work really well and is the real standout part of the game. Nothing new again, but the stories are well presented and have moments of humour that work really well. It is a nice attempt to break up the game and stop it becoming repetitive and monotonous. We are not talking Persona 4 levels of story telling here, but better than some attempts.
Let’s Fish! Hooked On is simply an average game, one that you will go back to once in a while, but not one that you will seek out to play. It is a game that does the basics well enough, but could have done with more time engaging the player. It is by no means a game you should avoid, but neither is it one that you should rush and download.