As any Zelda or WoW fan can tell you, fishing has been a staple of gaming for a long time now, but sometimes it takes a game like Activision’s Rapala Pro Bass Fishing to remind gamers of just how different fishing in reality can be. I’ll admit that I’m not much of a fisher, but this is definitely one of the most realistic fishing games available in the App Store.
While not as fast-paced as Flick Fishing, Rapala Pro Bass Fishing is more comprehensive, with lots of extra detail to make it feel about as real a fishing sim as you can get. You are not just waiting for a bite. Instead, you’re driving your boat out to prime fishing spots, casting, wiggling your line around to attract nibbles, jerking to land the hook, and as you reel your line in, be sure to pay close attention to the fish’s movement and your line tension if you don’t want to lose it.
The one thing that jumped out as rather unrealistic was the special move. Every rod has a special move associated with that, where you can tilt it a certain way according to the onscreen directions, and you’ll have fish all but launching themselves at you every time. It made the game a little too easy. If you’re not a fan of tilt controls, then pretty much everything will leave you feeling rather miserable, since just about everything is accelerometer only, with no option for touch controls.
While the free fishing mode gives you plenty to do, there is also a season mode that takes you through 60 different ranked events on five different, real-life, North American lakes. Roughly half of the 60 are solo challenges, while the other half pits you against computer generated opponents for challenges, like who can catch the most fish in a certain amount of time. It’s also worth pointing out that this is a Universal app and comes with a special iPad-only local multiplayer setting as well.
Winning these tournaments unlocks new gear, locations, and challenges, and it also wins you cash you can use to purchase better rods, lures, etc. Unfortunately, just as with real fishing, these tournaments can feel extremely tedious after awhile, so it can easily become a grind for all by the most die-hard fishing fanatics.
The game graphics are several steps above decent, but there are a few spots where it falls flat, particularly with the over-the-top NASCAR-esque victory scenes. They’re the same every time and always fuzzy, unnecessary, and hopelessly cheesy. The same is true for the overly enthusiastic announcer, who sounds like he’s taking a break from his monster truck rally gig. The overall aesthetic is “good ol’ country boy”.
Bottom line, you should enjoy Rapala Pro Bass Fishing for what it is, a very detailed and realistic fishing sim, but don’t expect a quick and satisfying fishing fix. It takes a long time to work through, and if you’re not a tilt control fan, don’t even bother. If you’re big into fishing, this is among the best fishing games at the App Store, but for everyone else, it’s more “meh” than “must have”.
Here is a video demo of the Rapala Pro Bass Fishing app on the iPhone
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