Reel Fishing: Masters Challenge is a game by Natsume which is all about fishing (with a bit of story).
Starting off, the game gives you a little story to sink into about a son’s mission to follow in his father’s footsteps as a great fishermen. The game delivers this story in a journal entry format, and before each mission you get a short sentence about what the son is thinking as he gets ready to fish. After returning, he then talks a bit more in depth about what he said before he went out.
After awhile of doing this same thing over and over I got quite bored; I wanted to skip all the story parts (which you can luckily), but since I reviewed this I also wanted to get the full experience – for better or worse. Though I made myself endure the whole thing, the story never really did anything to grab my attention – and to be honest I was a bit curious as to why they even included it. If story is your thing I don’t know why you’d ever think a fishing game would deliver in that aspect, but this one attempted it and failed horribly.
Putting the horribly boring and unnecessary story aside, let’s get into the main aspect of the game – catching some fish. It’s quite simple really; you hold the circle button to cast and you then use either the square (quick), triangle (medium), or circle (slow) button to reel it back in.
Once you get the attention of a fish (and it grabs a hold of your bait), you then hit up on the d-pad to start the battle. Now I say battle, but to be honest I’m thinking that’s a bit misleading as after a few missions I realized this game isn’t at all challenging.
When I first started playing, I found that tapping the circle button only makes it quite easy to keep the line break meter from hitting it’s break point (which would mean the line snaps and you lose the fish). Another way you can keep the line from breaking is to decrease the tension of your line by hitting the onscreen prompts, which are either left or right – and always the opposite direction of the fish. Using these two methods I pushed through the first few levels and earned some in-game currency with which to upgrade my fishing rod.
As stated, you can use that in-game currency to get upgraded rods that help with speed, power, and durability. After I was able to upgrade to the best rod (in my opinion) it was easy to start doing my tapping method with the quick (and more likely to break a line) method. This really just made each mission a big drag as I found the game never challenged me any further. The only time I would consider there being a slight challenge at that point was when the mission was timed.
Speaking of missions being timed, they can also vary in goal/rules by focusing on how many fish you need to catch and the minimum size of fish you need. After completing missions you’re given a score and awarded the game’s currency – which you can then use to buy bait, and aquarium decorations, or the already mentioned rod upgrades.
The game also offers a few other modes (aside from the story), including aquarium and free play. In the aquarium mode you simply put fish and decorations into a fish tank. As for free play mode, you choose your location and time of the year and then go fishing. Free play is pretty much the same as the story missions, but with no story and no restrictions (you can catch whatever you like). Unfortunately since this game doesn’t offer much of a challenge free play mode isn’t all that exciting. I feel like the story mode is better as at least you have a set task you must complete, making it a tad bit harder in some cases.
If you’re one of those people that likes to always beat a record you can check your best caught fish within the records menu. Here you can see each species of fish listed, and the measurements of the best caught fish for each of them. It’s a nice little touch that helps make you want to jump back in and do better, but at the same time it’s really not the greatest motivator when paired with this game.
Graphics are never really a deal breaker for me in games, and this one is no exception. Reel Fishing is a decent looking game which doesn’t do anything special to “wow” you. The fish look as they should though, and I’d say that’s the most important thing – but the environments seem to be a little empty. The sad part about it being empty-looking however, is that even with the lack of items on-screen a couple fish (or some seaweed) in the background can cause the game to slow to a chug while reeling in a fish. This drop in frame-rate is very noticeable and definitely seems out of place in such a sparse environment.
The sound in the game is what you would expect for a fishing game. It does offer some music to enjoy while you’re fishing, but of course it’s just generic. The sound is definitely not the issue with this game though, so don’t worry about the audio aspect.
Reel Fishing: Master’s Challenge is not a game I could see myself recommending to anyone. If you’re into fishing then maybe this game could satisfy that itch (in short bursts), but with a boring story and the fact that they completely missed the ballpark with the word “challenge” in the name… this one falls quite short.