fishing sim world
Fugly fisher has no plaice in your collection
Though we’ve never tried our hand at cardiovascular surgery, we’re pretty sure it’s easier to master than real-life fishing. One member of Team OXM spent his birthday this past June trying to catch brown trout in the teeming rain of the Scottish Highlands, and the resulting six, soaked (trout-free) hours scarred his soul forever. Annoyingly, landing a fishy in this thoroughly unwelcoming bass-snagging sim is almost as tricky.
Dovetail Games specialises in hardcore sims – see this year’s Train
Sim World – so it’s no shocker its take on virtual angling is unapologetically challenging. Yet where the studio’s choo-choo adventure had a perversely endearing quality in spite of its pofaced subject matter, Fishing Sim
World is just flat-out boring. It’s also terribly uninviting. For a game with so many complex mechanics, Dovetail does a terrible job of easing you into this fisher’s confusing waters. Key tutorials are buried away in submenus where the narrator does his best to befuddle your brain every step of the way. There’s a quite ludicrous amount of depth to this carp-catcher – not only do you have a wealth of lines and tackles to choose from, you can even fish with three rods at once – so the fact it callously throws you into the drowny end of the pool is unforgivable. Bass effect As a budget title, we can almost forgive Fishing Sim World for looking
“We can’t get past how perplexing its systems are”
like a cheap and cheerful Xbox 360 title. What we can’t get past is how perplexing its systems are. Just take the game’s boats. While fishing on larger bodies of water – like Lake Johnson in the US – you sail around using a sonar to try and detect fish. Trouble is, said radar is about as reliable as a Rolex made from silly putty, which makes finding bass, bluegills and pickerels as easy as digging out a needle in a haystack the size of Europe. We don’t see a fish until we’ve been playing for 70 minutes.
On rare occasions, the game’s fastidious attention to detail pays off. The fact you can play with either a golf-esque swing meter to cast your rod, or a more accurate but challenging analogue system with the right stick, is certainly welcome. There’s also a commendable variety of fish. Not only are there dozens of species in Fishing Sim World, but each one is procedurally generated, meaning you’ll never catch exactly the same size fish. Although that said, we have caught a lot of identical looking carp in Grand Union Canal.
While it’s obviously aimed at an incredibly niche market, the most damning reel we can cast in the game’s direction is the fact its take on fishing is less fun than either Far Cry
5 or Red Dead Redemption 2. On the rare occasions you do hook a potential catch, the resulting struggle feels strangely weightless, and certainly less tactile than the two open-world games we just mentioned. That both those sandboxes manage to outangle a specialist fishing sim with throwaway minigames tells the whole salmon story.
If you’re really desperate for horrendously hardcore fishing action, Dovetail has at least put together a fairly generous package. A wealth of single-player tournaments and online contests could keep the most committed digital fishers occupied for weeks. For everyone else, the fugly, terribly explained action will drive you back to catching Wild West catfish with Arthur Morgan.
left Unless you were born with a rod in your hands, don’t choose the Total Cast Control scheme.