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  • John Bush

Game Review #465: Fishing Star World Tour (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: John B Developer: WFS Publisher: WFS, Aksys Category: Action, Sports Release Date: 1.30.2019 Price: $29.99


Buy Fishing Star World Tour from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Buy Fishing Star World Tour physically from Amazon here.

The first time JP handed me a fishing game to review, things did not go well. Since then, I’ve pretty much just looked at fishing as little more than a distracting minigame. I mean, sure, I spent hours (HOURS) helping Byleth completely drain the monastery’s pond in Fire Emblem, and an equally huge amount of time as Noctis or Arthur Morgan chasing rare fish in their respective games, but… wait – do I like fishing games? Was it just Cabela’s that sucked? If you take away all the cowboy stuff from RDR2 and, uh, whatever was happening in FFXV, could their fishing mechanics stand on their own? Fishing Star World Tour for the Nintendo Switch from WFS (with a physical release from Aksys) provides a pretty definitive answer to that question, and it’s “yes.”

Fish Like the Stars

I namedropped Final Fantasy XV and Red Dead Redemption 2 in the last paragraph, and I was not kidding when I said the mechanics in Fishing Stars were similar to those games, especially FF – at least when you’re playing with a controller. You can aim your fishing rod with one thumbstick and zoom in with the other to look for fish under the water. When you’ve found a silhouette, you can cast your line with the push of a button and start reeling it in. Your hook should catch a fish’s eye and it’ll bite; you hit a button to snag the fish and start reeling it in like there’s no tomorrow.

The fish will fight you the whole way, so you will need to be smart about how you reel it in; at the top of the screen is a tension meter, which lets you know how much tension is on your fishing line. If it is maxed out for too long, your line snaps and the fish gets away. When the fish starts struggling, you can see it splashing around and your line tension will skyrocket. You can reduce tension by turning the rod in the direction the fish is travelling and letting up on the reel. When it calms down and the tension abates a little, you can start reeling safely again. Every so often, a ghost rod appears on your screen; if you align your rod with the ghost, the tension gauge will greatly diminish. Finally, even more rarely than the ghost rod, a special, three-ringed circle will appear. If you can navigate the fish into the circles, it will draw the fish closer, depending on the circle (middle circle is the best).

Motion by the Ocean

While the controller inputs make the game feel similar to FFXV, Fishing Star World Tour brings a different element to its gameplay via incorporating motion controls through the JoyCons. I was way more comfortable using a controller, personally, but it was kind of fun using the JoyCons to make the motion to both cast and reel in the fish. The motion controls felt a little more sluggish, but the difference wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be. Additionally, there are some minigames (or maybe only one? I’m not sure) that one can enjoy if you use the Labo Toy-Con Fishing Rod. Which I do not possess. So playing it was kind of impossible for me. I saw some videos; it looks neat.

And They Do Mean World Tour

Fishing Star World Tour features tons of unlockables that make for a ton of replayability. There are over forty stages to discover, each with three to eight different species of fish to catch, for a total of 182 fish - “fish” being a loosely applied term, since that number also includes frogs, salamanders, kelp, and a boot. Our oceans are a mess, you guys. The game offers several challenges for players to complete, for which it rewards you with new tackle – rods, reels, and lures – as well as unlocking new stages. New lures will allow you to attract different types of fish, whereas the rods and reels provide extra durability and power for catching larger, more powerful fish more easily.

I’m Not a Fisherman, But I Like (Virtual) Fishing… Why?

Much like the prospect of fishing in FFXV, I thought I’d get bored pretty quickly with Fishing Star. But then I played for about four hours uninterrupted when I booted it up for the first time and I can’t really understand why. The gameplay is pretty monotonous; cast, hook, reel, repeat. Certainly, adapting to the habits of some of the larger, stronger fish makes for quite the challenge, but gameplay doesn’t change or evolve over the course of the game. There’s just something about the little thrill of pulling a fish out of the water and seeing what you’ve caught this time that makes me want to keep doing it again and again.

There’s Nothing Fishy About These Graphics

I was pretty surprised by how much I enjoyed playing Fishing Star, and aside from some pretty addictive gameplay, I think that was largely due to how great the game looks. All of the different locations are vibrantly colored and gorgeously detailed – the settings all look better than I ever remember real nature being, and they feature some very unique and original designs, like a giant, half-submerged kangaroo statue or a rock formation in the shape of a shark. The water effects are smooth and ridiculously realistic, to boot. Everything just looks spectacular. The music is jazzy and full of energy, which invites and encourages anglers to stay and play in this world forever.

Fishing for Recommendations? Try Fishing Star

There are few things in life better than coming away having truly enjoyed something you never expected to even like a little. Fishing Star World Tour represents a gaming genre I seldom give the time of day, but it won me over pretty much from the start with its accessible gameplay mechanics, lush graphics, and loads of unlockables. Sure, it can get monotonous after a few hours, but if you come back to it a few days later it will feel as fresh and fun as it did the first time you played it. Even if you’re not into fishing games – or perhaps especially if you aren’t – give Fishing Star World Tour a try. I promise you won’t regret it.

Score: 8.5/10

Buy Fishing Star World Tour from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Buy Fishing Star World Tour physically from Amazon here.

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*A game code was provided for review purposes

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