Image via WikipediaESPN covers all sorts of sports, and sportsfishing is one of them. This EA game lets you be one of the master bass fisher and join a single day fishing, or do a full 3-lake (3 days at each lake) tournament. Well... is it fun? Hmmm... Yes, surprisingly.
Basically, this is a full fishing sim shrank into a phone app. You have like a dozen different lures (some are good for shallow, others are good for deeper waters, some are weed-proof, others are not). You have choices of 4 different rods rating for different weights, different speed and catch ratings. You can choose to fish at one of the three lakes available, each of which has several fishing spots. All are annotated so that you know what lure to use for each spot. Each lake has what's known as a "lunker" or a super-large fish, that you can catch at specific times each day. If you can nab that to your catch, it'll be a HUGE boost to your total.
In Bassmaster series, only to top five fish you caught (by weight) are counted and placed in the live tank. The day starts early at 7:30 AM, and lasts until 3PM, in 15 minute turns. Each turn you cast once, or change rods/lures, or change fishing spot. Thus, you can catch a LOT of smaller fish, but that won't help you in your total, as only the top 5 is counted. And the larger fish tend to hide deeper.
The fishing itself is divided into 3 parts: the cast, the fight, and the retrieve.
Cast basically means choosing where to cast your lure. At each fishing spot, you can cast your lure into a number of places. Choose and spot and go. However, you should consult the fishfinder screen to see how much fish are there at shallow vs. deep depths, and perhaps change your lure (though it takes a full 15 minute turn to do so). You can then spot fish shadows in the water. Casting to spot at or near the fish shadow increases the chance of a strike. Once the fish struck, there's tension on the line. Hit OK when tension goes from red to yellow or green to start the "fight". The larger the fish, the harder "jerk" you'll feel. However, if your rod's too strong (i.e. rated for too big of a fish) you won't "feel" the smaller fish (which may be what you want!) and thus wasted a turn.
Fight is basically keep the fish in the catch circle by using the cursor keys, until the "catch meter" fills up. If the fish gets outside the circle, catch meter drops. If catch meter reaches zero, fish has gotten loose. If it fills up, then you go to 'retrieve' phase. You can also 'jerk' the line, which adds a little to the 'catch meter', but also shrinks the circle (which will grow back after a while). The fish can suddenly change directions, and you need fast reactions to keep it fighting. If you let it get near the surface, it can start jumping, you then need to play "match the sequence" with cursor keys to keep the line from breaking. The larger the fish, the harder it fights with sudden changes in direction, rapid movement, diagonal movement, and so on. It can get exciting, esp. on the lunkers (big fish!) as you fight for extended periods, as it jumps several times. And you really feel the loss if the fish breaks the line and swims away.
Retrieve is basically "match the sequence" with cursor keys. The larger the fish, the longer the sequence. You have a time limit, so you have to be quick, or else the fish will be gone. Mistakes cost you time, as expected. Small fish have maybe 3 keys, while super-large fish can have like eight to ten keys.
With a little practice, you should have no problem bringing in the big fish. I've played only a day and I was already beating everybody in the tournament by 10 pounds (more than one fish's weight, as average fish is like 5-6 pounds). Once I even caught a 14 lb giant bass. Too bad there isn't a "trophy room". But there is a record room for each lake, that records both best tournament total and quick game total.
All in all, bass fishing game is surprisingly fun, if a little repetitive, but when you manage to catch that "lunker" that everybody was talking about, you really feel that you've accomplished something. I don't fish, but with this game, I think I can actually feel a bit of what those fishermen out there are feeling, and I guess, that's the best compliment that a game can get...
Rating: 8.5 out of 10 (yes, that high)
Pros: feels like fishing! surprisingly fun!
Cons: a bit too easy? Beats tournament left and right
About This Place
First started in late 2007, Kasey's Mobile Game Review (then just a regular feature of Kasey's Korner) started as a simul-post between here and IGN. Later I realized there's no reason to post it twice, when I can use the traffic on my own site. so, here we are, in 2010, and the mobile game industry has grown a bit. What do you think?