Legend of the River King is a game of two halves: one half is a fishing game, in a similar vein to that if Animal Crossing; the other is an RPG. Sadly, neither half proves to be particularly good.
The game starts out with you setting out to catch the legendary Guardian Fish to help cure your sick sister, and… that’s about it in terms of story. Whilst it’s quite touching in its own way, players shouldn’t expect an epic RPG tale.
For what seems to be the most important part of the game, the fishing isn’t presented to you as something you should actually do nor is it explained on how you go about this.
Sure, the actual actions to fish are simple, but actually catching a fish is ridiculously difficult. You’ll get a bite and attempt to reel it in, only for it swim away as soon as you move. This will happen a lot. I eventually found out by myself that it is trial and error as to where you cast off that affects your catch. Whereas combat in the RPG part is similarly as not well explained, and caused me a few deaths before figuring it out the gist.
Legend of the River King is short, lacks direction and any real narrative. But it is somehow still interesting and quite endearing.
You can have a lot of fun once you get the hang of both the combat and fishing, but the fun comes from what you make of the game and not what the game presents to you. The music is lovely and the visuals are still rather pleasing on the eye.
Games like these don’t happen much any more, games are so quick to hold your hand and set out the path you have to take to best enjoy the game, that playing through this in 2013 is quite refreshing.
It reminds of my first play-through of The Legend of Zelda in 1987, I had no clue what I was doing and no idea on how to actually play the game. Yet somehow without direction or real narrative, I enjoyed the game very much. Such achievement can be found here with Legend of the River King.