Designed as a casual fishing simulation, Fishing Adventure has an RPG loop that has the ability to hook (see what I did there?) players. It by no means stands out or does anything unique, but it is playable for casual Switch owners looking to unwind on a simple digital lake.
Playing as a generic fisherman avatar, this eShop download plays like a first-person shooter. Instead of holding a gun, the player wields a fishing pole and is free to walk around a basic environment. Although bland and undetailed, one of the best aspects is simply just walking around these environments that sometimes go through some moody weather patterns. The fisherman even has the ability to jump by clicking the left analog stick although the jump isn’t very high. It is, however, just high enough to be able to jump in the lake which forces an instant respawn back on shore, which is actually pretty hilarious. It is also possible to jump on logs and debris but also it is possible to get stuck on the environment. The invisible barriers are also awkward.
Fishing is simple as using the trigger buttons to cast, reel, and hook. Alternatively, the Joy-Con can be used with motion controls to cast and set the hook as well. With each captured fish, the player has the option to sell it for money or throw it back to gain experience. The higher the experience level, the more fishing equipment becomes available. The better the equipment, the more fish you can catch. In order to use this newly unlocked equipment, the player needs cash. In time, gameplay can become grindy but that is the loop that provides incentive to keep playing. Either way, collecting every fish counts towards something.
Like in real life, the biggest issue is trying to locate the fish. Without any type of radar, map, or first-person hook view, snagging a bite is purely random. Luckily, most casts can yield a fish of some type and there are dozens available. Exploring the land, the fisherman can also find a row boat although controlling this vessel is cumbersome as you cannot see where you are going. The included challenge mode gives the player a specific task to complete such as catching a certain number of fish in a given time, catching fish above a certain weight, or finding a specific type of fish before time runs out. There are a few dozen of these optional quests and provide some additional replay value.
Everything about Fishing Adventure is plain and basic but that doesn’t mean it is necessarily bad, just a little stale. While still playable, the lack of any unique features, like having a gimmick when reeling in fish or a story mode with a narrative, leaves much to be desired. The RPG loop of catching fish for cash and experience is nice, and there is plenty to unlock and much to explore in the challenge mode, but playing Fishing Adventure is like catching an undersized blue gill when you know there are other lunkers out there.
Not As Good As: the Legend of River King games
Also Try: Sega Bass Fishing (Dreamcast)
Wait For It: the next Rapala simulation