Pocket Fishing

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Pocket Fishing (Nintendo Switch) – Review

Okay, I might not be the most active sporty person, but I do enjoy fishing. It is minimal effort for what I consider high rewards… lunch. The experience, as a whole, is relaxing too, taking in the sea air, chilling with a book with your rod balanced between your legs, it can be bliss. The thought of a fishing game actually seemed like the relaxing solution to my hectic life. ‘Pocket Fishing’ developed and published by Ultimate Games was certainly a confusing solution.

There is no real introductory narrative to this game, which is quite a shame as a single fishing tournament would have sufficed to keep me motivated to fish to my heart’s content. You are thrown into the first location, Tongariro, New Zealand, with a basic rod in hand and left to your own devices. You can lazily fish, but it would have been nice to have a little bit of a motivating drive behind your adventure into the wild or going to each location. A nice little cutscene of you arriving at the site by campervan or boat would have been a nice simple addition.

Gameplay-wise, once you hit the U.I. and menu, my suspicions become pretty evident. Everything about the interface of Pocket Fishing feels like a mobile port. The writing is quite small and hard to read at times, and the arrow to click into tabs is very slow and clumsy to maneuver with the joysticks. This does not get any better once docked on the T.V. either. Once you get past the battle with the cursor, you can start fishing.

Thrown into the starting location, you can walk around the map and cast your rod wherever you want on the bank. Using the ZR to cast, you then must awkwardly cursor to the trigger to hook your fish and then bumper left and right to reel him. In between reeling him in, you will be given a chance to decrease the fish’s stamina by tapping X on a health bar. Again, it is a very clumsy way of doing it and it was quite a rooky idea to not utilise the touch controls on the Nintendo Switch a bit more ingeniously.

For once, using a controller on the T.V. did not help any more than being handheld. I wouldn’t even describe the gameplay as relaxing as the controls are just that unmaximised for the use of a Nintendo Switch very well. It can be interesting at times when you acquire a new fish and learn about it, but that feeling is very short and far between.

Towing in a fish will net you some cash, which you can use to upgrade your fishing tackle. From rods to bait, reels to hooks, there is an impressive amount to switch up. These can add perks to your finishing experience such as the ability to net bigger catches, fewer stamina taps, quicker luring in, more cash etc. You also have the ability to change to a spinning technique, that at least opens up a new scene and a way to net yourself some different fish.

Eventually, you also can buy boats to navigate out to deeper stretches of ocean, but these are like a rusty shopping trolley to steer so they no longer become an excitement to bag. Also, if you look hard enough you will find a rudimentary talent tree that also lets you upgrade the levels XP, PR, and Earnings just like some of the gear. This also works on a tier system as certain fish are rarer than others so if you reel one in perks can be added to your reward, but it isn’t very in-depth.

There are only 5 locations to choose from to fish, which is pretty weak, especially disappointing when even though they are graphically diverse they all look very similar visually. I have no idea why a river in New Zealand looks like a cove in Guntersville, USA but it does. There is also a day and night experience where you will encounter fish you wouldn’t normally see in each time zone and shallow and deep water that provides the same differentiation.

The graphics are not overly exciting either. The waves on the beach are unimpressive, the environment dull and lacking much foliage, and nothing screams people come here to fish exotics. At times, the graphics even struggle to catch up with the sound as I reel a fish in, and it dangles from the line the splash in animation comes well after the sound. Bizarre indeed. The sound work is no different, with very generic environmental effects.

Overall, Pocket Fishing can be somewhat fun for a very short amount of time. Very quickly though, the wrestling of the controls and disjointed graphics and animations make for a not very relaxing time. For the first time, I think I’d rather go outside and touch grass with a real rod than curl up on the couch and play a video game.

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The Good

  • Upgrade system
  • Short bursts of interest in the fish
  • Time zones/depth of different fish

The Bad

  • No overarching story to pull it all together
  • Clumsy U.I and menu
  • Rudimentary talent system
  • Not many places to fish.. in a fishing game?
  • Shoddy boat controls
  • Dull graphics and audio

Written by: Stacey


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