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January 3, 2014

Reel Fishing Ocean Challenge

Just in case I haven't said it enough, Happy New Year! I hope you've celebrated the last moments of 2013 and the first moments of 2014. As for me, it was one gigantic family reunion at my house. My mother's side of the family is enormous, we had about twenty guests. It was epic. And it was really fun. Of course, it takes a lot of organization, what with thinking of the meals, the number of guests, the drinks, the activities, the desserts, the chairs and tables, the snacks, the decorations, space to park all the cars outside... did I mention the food?

Yeah, now we can really relax. I mean, I've relaxed pretty often during the two or three weeks I had away from university; I watched at least one film per day, I played a lot of games (as I can prove with my Demo Reviews; by the way, the last Demo Review for this one will be up tomorrow, and Sunday will be a post with links to all the Demo Reviews I posted), I had a lot of fun. I also met my friend, the Pokémon fan, to trade some Pokémon. And of course, I bought a couple games during that time.

Now that I think of it, there is one way to relax I have never really done: Fishing. I never had the chance to attach a worm on the hook, throw the line, and pull back when the line shakes. I never did that... In real life. In the gaming world, however, I had one major opportunity to do so, and it's called Reel Fishing: Ocean Challenge.

This is as simple as a game like this can be, and it's not a problem. The game is found on the WiiWare with a couple more fishing games, all of these also under the Reel Fishing franchise. I think I can start the year with an easy review like this. I ended last year so powerfully, I really need something simple to start 2014. Are you ready? Forget the cold weather outside, put on your fisher hat, and get ready, we're going to catch some fish!

Wait. Why "Download"? Isn't it
already downloaded? ...Oh crud.
When you start the game, you can load a save file or create a new save file. Let's create a save file; I better start from scratch if I want to make a decent review. So, I type in a name for my file, and then I access a menu with three choices: “Start Mission”, “View Your Best Catches”, and “Save”. I guess I better start with the first mission, huh?

Actually, when you get to the mission selection screen, you can access the first five missions immediately. You must complete all five of them before playing the next five. The first mission serves as a tutorial of sorts, with a very simple demand: Catch one filefish. It's a very easy mission, as the filefish is the only species of fish there is for the moment in that body of water. As you progress through the missions, more fish get added and the missions get more difficult. Of course, as more kinds of fish will get attracted by your bait, and you need to catch some particular species.

Yep, stats, size, weight, name, place where it was caught...
You don't get that from fishing in Pokémon!
So, how does the game work? You can play with the Wiimote and Nunchuk, but I personally prefer using only the Wiimote. It's less complicated. As for how the game works: Pull the Wiimote back, and then take a swift movement towards the screen; it's as if you were throwing your fishing pole's line to the water. Then, you wait or move your bait around. When a fish spots your bait and is interested, it'll come towards it, and if it catches the bait, you'll hear a little “Snap” sound. Time to fight with that fish! Not literally, of course. But basically, you have to pull the line back towards you while the fish is trying to get out of this trap. It's simple, really. You can press A or B to pull the line back; A will pull it slowly, B will pull it faster. However, you must be very careful when you do that. See the vertical meter on the left of the screen? When a fish catches your bait, the meter will suddenly get filled with blue. Not entirely, though. Basically, each time the fish is showing resistance to being caught, as if trying to swim the opposite way, the bar will increase. It can increase very quickly or kind of slowly. When the fish stops showing resistance, the meter decreases. Therefore, you must always press A or B to keep the blue section big enough to be about half the bar. Why? Because the bar being too low means you aren't reeling the fish in and it can escape, and it being too high means the pressure is strong and the line could break. Either way isn't funny, especially when it gets difficult to catch the required species of fish. Anyway, keep reeling the fish in with A or B, always looking out to keep the vertical bar filled enough, and soon enough your fish will have been caught. When the fish is caught, you get stats such as its species, weight and length.

One star? Haha, this tackle sucks!
Your other tool in this quest to “fish 'em all”? The tackles. Before you've thrown your line, you can press – on the Wiimote. You access a menu on which you can then select different types of tackles. Or rather, you can select a species of fish, depending on which one you want to catch, and the select a type of tackle. Each tackle has a level of efficacy with each fish, and thus you can change the tackle to have better chances to catch the fish you need in order to complete the mission. Most worm tackles are useful while the non-worm one... are rather meh.

Once the first five missions are completed, you unlock the next five. What are the types of missions, exactly? Well, there's a few kinds: Catch one breed of fish; Catch one breed of fish, but it must be a specimen with a length above a certain amount; catch the same breed of fish many times in a row; and so on and so forth. The fish you can catch become bigger as you progress, starting at fish that aren't over a foot long up until the fish of the final mission, which must be over EIGHT FEET LONG.

By the way, saving isn't an automatic feature in this game, so if you play and then forget to save, well... Get ready because you'll have to re-do everything you haven't saved... Gosh do I hate when games do that.

You can see most of those breeds early in the game...
As for the others...
Also, at any moment you can go back to the main menu in your save file and select “View Your Best Catches”. When you select that option, you're brought to a scrolling menu with the names of all the fish you can catch in this game. The ones you haven't caught are hidden as question marks. When you select one type of fish that you have caught, you access a page showing your best ten catches for this type of fish. It's really neat. But that's not all! You can view your catches by selecting the fish in that list, and you'll be brought to the 3D model of that fish. Oh hurray, and I thought seeing them once when they're caught was enough... Eh, that's still a nice thought.

Now, if you have this game at home, you know what I'm gonna talk about next. The game itself is available on the WiiWare for 500 Wii Points. That's five bucks, people. However, when you buy that game on the WiiWare, you only get the first ten missions. Yep, play the first five, unlock the next five. Once you've completed the next five, pull out your wallet and PAY. MORE.

That's the kind of thing you won't see unless you do pay
the additional amounts needed to access everything.
Seriously, this sucks.
There's a number of WiiWare games that work like this; you buy the software on the Wii Shop Channel, and it's supposed to work as a single game. However, the games on that Channel demand a maximum of 1,500 Wii Points. It's the case for Sonic The Hedgehog 4's first episode, just to name that one. Most other games are 1,000 Wii Points or less. And like I said, this game is 500 Wii Points, so they could just sell it fully at maybe 1,000 Points and be done with it, right? Well... no. You have to pay again. Pay another 500 points for missions 11-20. Wanna do the last ones? Pay again! You use a total of 1,500 Wii Points on this. Okay, in itself, it's not so bad, but as I mentioned before, the maximum price for a game on the WiiWare IS 1,500 points. Why didn't they just sell it fully at 1,500 points and kept it at 500?

I think I know. The other Reel Fishing games also cost only 500 points. My polite guess is that they wanted all the games to have the same cost in the shop. My impolite reason? The bastards wanted to hide the fact that you access only one-third of the full game. In fact, very simple economical lesson; people like cheap things. They like expensive things too, but the difference is that they can buy a lot of cheap things. And 500 Wii Points is one fourth of a Wii Points card. Easy! However, the hidden additional fees to play the full game aren't really revealed to you until you get there.

And of course, I don't yet have the rest. To me, this feels like a long demo. (Sheesh, somehow I was able to connect this review to my “Demo Reviews”!) And having to pay for a demo is really lame. Natsume, man up and sell us the full game from the start, not a third of the game to force us into paying 10 bucks to get the rest! Screw you! At lest the other demos are classy, you don't pay to try them, you pay only if you want the full version, not for a small portion of the game! Yeah. sure, they give us less to try, but hey, at least you don't pay for those!

I think I have to complete this now. Okay, so... Final thoughts?


No, wait, that's not what I was gonna say...


Hey, whoa, calm down, me! This is just DLC, after all! Calm the Hell down... I mean, a lot of other games have DLC!

NO, I WON'T! This part sucks, and that's my major complaint about this game. Heck, I looked at some other reviews, and this is also the main complaint brought forth by other reviewers. And I can understand why. We're being sold a game that should be playable in its entirety from the start, but NO!  At least, games like Just Dance have DLC, but they contain more songs at the beginning than there is DLC to download! Well, by this point I'm just repeating myself, so maybe I should just keep going.

OH, HELL NO! THIS SUCKS! Okay, for the record? The first ten missions are also the ones that seem the least fun. You're first brought to the basics, with catching one, two, three of a type of fish, and then the first “catch a fish bigger than X” mission. This changes a bit for missions 6 to 10, but the fish you catch are still quite small, hardly ever taller than a meter (3'3''). Then you go look at the missions 11 to 30. You can access the information for those even in the basic version of the game, and damn do those sound awesome. The last mission lets you catch a fish taller than the tallest human. Yeah, picture that. Seriously, I understand the complaints. I can't let this slide. It's like Natsume knew that less than a third of people would buy the whole game, so they sell only a part of it to make a quick buck and "hope" that others will buy the rest.

But if we put this complaint aside, what else is there to say? Well, the music is very repetitive, seeing as there's maybe three different songs in the entire game, one of which plays when a fish was caught, and the others in the menus. The graphics? Seriously, the underwater is boring as Hell, the fish are kind of boring, and I'm sure this aspect would be a little better in the full version. The fish, not the underwater ground textures.

How fun is this game? Well, if you have a father who isn't able to play complicated games, he should enjoy this one just fine, I know my father enjoys this game, he has a lot of fun with it, and that's because it's such a simple one. As for me, I would enjoy more challenge, because the game never really changes. Switch to the better bait for that breed of fish, throw your line, wait, and then reel it in. Aside from the thirty missions, there is NO Free Play mode, something that was in some of the previous Reel Fishing games.

Buy at your own risk.

And if you do, and you find out about the very limited number of missions available from the start, well... I'll have told you. You'll have been warned.

And here I thought the year was gonna start easy...