GoFishing 3D – Review
Follow Genre: Sports, Simulator
Developer: Mastercode
Publisher: Ultimate Games
Platform: Switch, Android
Tested on: Switch

GoFishing 3D – Review

Site Score
0.5
Good: Relaxing ambient sounds
Bad: Boring and repetitive
User Score
2.8
(5 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 2.8/10 (5 votes cast)

There is a healthy niche market for fishing games, despite not having the mass appeal of other sports games, such as those involving balls or race cars. A quick search of the term “fish” in the Switch eShop returned about half a dozen simulators. One of those is our catch of the day: GoFishing 3D. When you take a look at the screenshots for this game, your first thought is probably that it’s another one of those games, but who knows? It might be a hidden gem or one of those “so bad it’s good” games.

Story

The story -or lack thereof- can be summarized in two words. You fish. That’s it. There’s a couple of areas to unlock, and a load of stuff to buy and collect but there is no storyline to complete.

Graphics

The marketing blurb on the Switch eShop mentions “Enjoyable 3D graphics”. It’s bold to call graphics what would make even the biggest Nintendo 64 enthusiast cringe enjoyable. Textures look muddy, lighting effects unappealing and character models unfinished. The menu is a mixture of cheap-looking buttons, horrible font choices -that are a few steps away from Comic Sans- and flat, lifeless icons.

Right at the start of the game, the tone is set when you see the player characters for the first time: they look like they walked straight out of an early PlayStation 2 game. Character movement is wooden and unnatural and when the player character holds up a fish to the screen, you’re left wondering if their wrist is supposed to bend like that.

At first glance, the water surface looks decent enough, until you realize you can’t see anything underwater, not even basic shadows of fish. This means most of the time, you’ll be staring at the bobber icon rather than the bobber itself. This removes one of the best aspects of a fishing simulator: the tension and the slow build-up of seeing the fish come closer to the bait before taking that first nibble. Because the fish aren’t visible, you don’t really have anywhere to “aim”.

Sound

Apart from the rather pleasing ukulele tunes on the menu screen, the soundscape of the game is built around natural sounds. Ducks quack, water splashes and reeling in your fishing line produces the expected sounds. It’s the bare minimum of sound you’d expect in a game, but it’s also the best feature: Not having music makes the whole experience feel more relaxing than it actually is. The natural sounds are a far cry of the rock music used in the trailer, which thankfully does not make an appearance here.

Gameplay

Before you even get to grips with the actual fishing, the first challenge that awaits you is struggling through an interface that feels clumsy at best. In a curious reversal of what you’d expect in a game menu, the options that you select while navigating are those greyed out instead of the highlighted ones. The menus also seem to not respond instantly, sometimes refusing to respond to a button for half a minute for no discernible reason.

After choosing one of the two lifeless mannequins that represent the player characters you are taken to a lovely little place called “Training Pond”. “Here you can learn how to fishing”, the game tells us in a poor attempt at conveying the English language. Apparently, “learn how to fishing” involves randomly pressing buttons in an attempt to get through an unclear tutorial. With poorly written textboxes and only half of the available button presses explained, you’ll end up having to figure out most of the game by yourself.

Training Pond is one of eight areas that you can unlock. Others include “Sturgeon Lake”, a place that greets you with the lovely sounds of traffic from a nearby overpass and “Wild River” where crocodiles await, supposedly. In order to get to these new places, you’ll need to catch enough fish to level up, which then earns you the right to buy access. Levelling up also allows you to buy new fishing gear. New gear provides you with advantages, including different fishing lines that give you greater reach or more varieties of bait. It’s a bit of a shame though, that buying gear feels like a gamble, as there is little to no description on the differences between the various pieces of gear. The point of this gear us to then use it to complete certain “Scenarios”, which involve catching two or three specific species of fish.

Once you figure out the controls of the game, they are fairly simple: pressing the Y-button casts your fishing line and then it’s simply a matter of waiting until your bobber, which is normally white, turns red. When it does, simply shift your analogue stick up (or press “Up” on the D-pad) and if you get the timing right, you have a bite. Next comes reeling the fish in. This is done by holding the R-button. Should the power bar on the side of the screen fill up, you lose the fish. You need to alternate between releasing the R-button to empty the bar and pressing it again to reel the fish in. It works well enough in its simplicity, but it also gets boring and repetitive real fast, and it never feels like you’re out there in a battle of man versus nature. If fishing in Animal Crossing feels more realistic than it does in your fishing simulator, you’re doing something wrong.

GoFishing3D is an inferior and overpriced port of a game that is free to play on Android, but at least that version has touch screen controls and multiplayer tournaments going for it-although one has to wonder if the Android player base is large and active enough to make the tournament feature worth it. Despite the fact that the Switch version of GoFishing 3D is a game you have to pay real money for just to get, the port still feels similar to the design philosophy of a free-to-play Android game: although there are no actual microtransactions in the Switch version, the game’s economy still feels microtransaction based. You earn *very* little money for doing stuff and almost everything you can unlock is behind a paywall -even inventory space!  Although you get a small bonus every day for simply booting up the game, it’ll still cost you the upside of six hours to simply buy the most basic boat -chances are you’ll never reach that point as you’ll be bored way before that. The aforementioned “Scenarios” also need to be purchased to be unlocked, adding insult to injury. Everything about this game feels like a chore, and a lot of the content is locked behind tedious and repetitive gameplay. On the Android version, this can be avoided by purchasing everything with real money instead of in-game currency, although why you would do that is another question entirely.

Conclusion

Should you desperately want a fishing simulator on Switch, there’s far better options out there. Although the better ones these tend to be slightly more expensive, you’ll also feel like you’re getting your money’s worth, which is definitely not the case with GoFishing 3D. If you still feel like giving this one a shot, try the free Android version first, but don’t say we didn’t warn you.

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Rating: 2.8/10 (5 votes cast)
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GoFishing 3D - Review, 2.8 out of 10 based on 5 ratings
Sebastiaan Raats
Sebastiaan Raats


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