Dec 4, 2007
Much like real-world fishing, Fishing Master for the Wii requires some time and plenty of patience before it pays off.
In the beginning it is an over simplified, cartoony excuse to fling your WiiMote in the air and perform silly wrist actions with the Nunchuck. During that first hour you can pretty much figure out exactly how to bring in every catch and recognize when the fish will definitely get away.
Not helping matters much is that game play is highly repetitive consisting entirely of casting, waiting, semi-precise reeling and cued jerking to. You use the WiiMote to flick your rod to cast a line and rotate the Nunchuck to physically reel it in (or cheat and use either the control pad on the WiiMote or the mini thumbstick on the Nunchuck) while watching a meter to make certain your line doesn’t break or the fish get loose.
After the initial dullness, however, the thrill of the catch and the shiny lure of more than 100 types of fish entices you into returning to every fishing hole with better bait and longer poles. You’ll actually get pissy when you cannot bring in a particularly pesky fish that fought you to every corner of the screen before finally snapping the line. You’ll even start to care about the seasons, the difference between freshwater and seawater fish and the various baits each fish prefers.
Casting control is spot on, with the WiiMote making a pretty natural casting mechanism. The only difficulty is during the context-sensitive cues when you quickly flick the controller to the side to pull the fishing line, yet the on-screen result seems to always be a little delayed for one side (the right).
Even though your in-game avatar is a cartoon bobble-headed fisher-person, your well-crafted Nintendo Mii has to stay home this trip, which is an unfortunate oversight. While most of the game has similarly overly simplified graphics, each of the 100+ caught fish (and odd items) is surprisingly well rendered with lighting effects and realistic details down to the shimmering scales.
Fishing areas are also not quite as well realized or varied, however, with very few short piers and limited shore lines. Besides lakes, streams and other usual fishing holes, there are areas close to town where you scoop up silly junk including the traditional joke rubber boot which can be especially frustrating since these oddities cast fish-shaped shadows and seemingly swim to your line.
The game’s cartoon silliness works pretty for the multiplayer mode where four gamers fish on the same screen, trying to get the best spot and out cast each other. Watching four adults wildly wag their arms around is pretty fun to watch, regardless of the game.
You’ll be surprised at how this rather low-tech console game, that should rightly be a mini-game in a bigger release, draws you much like a decent downloadable casual game. Before this could get too gamey sitting on store shelves, the publisher wisely dropped the price to $20, which is where it should have started.