As someone who’s experiences with the genre are largely confined to SEGA Bass Fishing, the soothing tranquility of Reel Fishing: Paradise 3D came as quite the surprising allure.
You play as an angler newly arrived at the Aqua Lodge, and after a genial introduction soon make your way to a Tranquil Lake nearby begin casting off. Newcomers will be pleased that a tutorial will guide them through the process of successfully doing so, whilst those with more fishing rod experience can skip this entirely and get straight to it.
Against the gentle sound of rippling water, you’ll cast a line toward the water expanse that lies before you, aiming with the Circle Pad before pressing A to build as much power behind your efforts as you wish. If you’d rather use touch screen input then this also sees support, requiring you to slide the stylus in the direction you wish to cast – the quicker you are determining the strength.
From here, the game’s perspective switches to the murky depths, and sees the appearance of whichever fish you have the opportune moment to catch once it has started nibbling your bait. Again, different control inputs see you either reeling slowly in with Y, X to do so at a medium speed, and A for the quickest momentum, whereas you can rotate the handle manually on the touch screen with the stylus to determine your own speed.
You’ll need to reel in at alternating speeds to attract the attention of any fish in the nearby vicinity, pausing on occasion to provide the opportunity for them to catch up. Once you’ve secured that elusive bite, players must quickly hook the fish before promptly reeling it in to claim your prize. Risk enters the mix here, however, reeling too quickly seeing the line snap, whilst reeling to slowly will see the hook lose its grip. Reel Fishing Paradise 3D uses sound to notify you of how things are panning out, the pitch rising when the line’s under stress, whilst if the pitch becomes low then there’s too much slack and you’ll need to quicken your pace.
It makes for an exciting experience as you test your own attentive patience with a meter to the left of the screen aiding your efforts, before the fish leaps above water – all the more tantalising with the stereoscopic 3D effect firmly switched off – after which you’re provided with the size and weight of your new catch. Somewhat humanely, you’re also given the chance to either keep or release your prized fish, the former choice seeing you take it home to swim around either your freshwater or saltwater aquariums.
There’s plenty of depth for those looking to sink time into Reel Fishing Paradise 3D – a selection of tackles responding differently when they hit the water, whilst fifteen beautiful locations differentiate the environments that you idly sit in whilst awaiting your next bite.
Whilst perfect for those with a quick-fire pick-up-and-play mentality, it is the game’s unconcentrated approach that could have perhaps used more consideration. Missions seek to objectify your experience by tasking you with catching certain types of fish, but there’s little here to direct your experience beyond this.
And that will most likely prove to be Reel Fishing Paradise 3D’s divisive factor, failing to elevate itself beyond a game that can draw your attention for any extended period of time. Fans of the genre will still find enough to enjoy, but there’s plenty of room for improvement here.