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August 14, 2015

Fishing Master: World Tour (Part 1)

I said, time and time again, that I actually like sport games. There’s just something I like in being able to practice a sport you might not have the budget or the tools to play in real life. Personally, I enjoy fishing video games. My only complaint is that most of them really want to mimic reality by having realistic techniques, realistic-looking fish… I dunno, I’d love to get a bit of realism out of the way, and turn what would be a boring fishing game into a great experience.

Hello, Fishing Master: World Tour! This little Wii game uses a dose of realism, what with many kinds of bait, many lengths of fishing rods, and dozens upon dozens of real fish to catch. However, it also has some crazy competition taking place all over the world, naggy rivals, legendary fish and creatures that can be caught, special baits to catch those legendary animals, and oh so much more. This game combines unrealism with realism, resulting in a rather fun mix. As an example, you can catch METALLIC FISH! All you need… is a magnet as bait! No, really!

I once caught a fish so big, the photo alone weighed ten pounds.
...Nah, just kidding, it weighed two.

We’re in for a crazy worldwide trip across all the best fishing spots. Jump aboard our boat, we’ll make you see all kinds of weird stuff!



The game’s story starts as our Animesque protagonist receives a call from a lawn gnome, who can barely move and whose lips never match what he’s saying. …Oh, pardon me, this is actually “Gramps”, or as he says, you can call him Grandpa. Yeah, he does look like a lawn gnome, doesn’t he? Or maybe he's Fishy, the missing eighth dwarf. Gramps embarks you on a majestic quest around the world, a fishing competition where the best fishermen – and fisherwomen! – will gain majestic rewards, as well as the title of Fishing Master.

Wait. An old man, supposedly an expert in a certain field of expertise, sends off a child into an adventure where he must catch, and possibly document, all the species he discovers during his trip. Add to this a kind of competition where the child can earn the title of Master. Now where have I heard of that before…


…Nah, that’s not it.

Anyway, “Gramps” has decided to help the young angler that you play in this game; he has made a boat available, with captain and all. But the character needs a registration card, so you must choose an appearance for your character (5 different bodies, three boys, two girls), and then you give yourself a name. Being always ever so creative, I’ll call mine… Nicolas – What the Hell do you mean, six letters maximum??? After which you must bring a pet along; you have the choice between a puppy or a kitty. …I’ll go with the puppy, I’m allergic to cats.

‘ATCHOO!

Sorry.

You also name your pet, and then select your State or country of origin. I can’t even pick Quebec… And thus registration is complete. You then show up in Nagoya Port, the first fishing spot, and meet the captain of the luxury ship that will bring you across the world. Time to start fishing!

I hope you can throw it far!
Here are the basics: You move around a small patch of land using the Wiimote’s control pad or the Nunchuk’s analog stick. When you go into fishing mode, you press B, after which you can adjust your angle by tapping left or right on the control pad or analog stick. When you’re satisfied, raise the Wii remote and fling it forward to throw your line! You spin the Nunchuk vertically to reel in, or you can use the C button (to reel in slowly) or the Z button (to reel in fast). Personally, I found the C button worked better than the other two methods. When a fish catches your bait and its shadow disappears from the water, time to reel in! Pull the Wii remote upwards! A bar appears at the top of the screen, with the leftmost section saying “Escape” and the rightmost section saying “Break”. For obvious reasons, the fish will fight back if it feels being pulled towards the land. You have to keep the bar between “Escape” and “Break”. If the bar empties itself completely, the fish escapes. If it fills completely and you keep reeling in even while the bar is in the “Break” zone, your line will break and you’ll lose your bait. It’s all about waiting to get a catch and then being careful not to reel too little or too much. When the fish has reached the land, you lift it out of the water by raising the Wii remote.

Hook, line and SINKER!
Of course, you’re pretty much fighting against the fish as you try to reel it in. Sometimes, you might get an indication on the screen demanding you to move the Wii remote to the left or the right; when you accomplish this, the fish becomes stunned for a few seconds and you can reel in. Be careful, though, not to break the line when the fish starts resisting again. Those little buggers sure don’t want to get caught. Some are fighting like crazy. In the case of huge fish, you may even have to shake the Wii remote frantically when it’s time to bring it on the land… or else those fish will prove stronger and break your line! Call them bosses if you want. After all, video game terminology applies to so many things…

But of course, it doesn’t stop there! You have a wide selection of lures, from earthworms to plankton to waterweed… but at the start of the game, you only have access to two lures, earthworms and lugworms. Where do you get the others? There are shops in every region you visit, and you can buy new lures there. With which money, you ask? …Not money, actually. See, at the end of a day, the Captain will tally up your catch and give you points based on the size of the fish you caught. Each fish has a base number of points, and the captain will give that amount of points for each plus a bonus depending on the fish's size. You get lots of points when you catch big fish, and even more when you catch huge fish. And yes, those points are treated as money in this game; you use these points to buy over 30 different types of bait as well as new fishing poles with longer reach, better strength... Now, why all the shop owners in this game accept points as money regardless of their location on Earth, that’s a question for the ages. Is that it? Is the world of Fishing Master World Tour functioning on a worldwide economy based around the points you collect when fishing? Like, if I have enough points from fishing all this fish, could I buy myself an escort? How many fishing points for a ticket to Six Flags’ La Ronde?

Whaddaya mean I can't go to the amusement park, I have to keep fishing?

Also, why are all the shopkeepers looking the same? I mean, unless some woman in an Asian country had nonuplets, and they all loved fishing, and they all set up shop everywhere around the world, and they're all identical...

Um... Dude? The pink fish are over there.
Now on the topic of what you catch in this game: there’s an easy way to recognize the special fish. When you stare at the sea and see all these fish shadows, you will see mostly dark blue fish. However, it’s entirely possible you’ll sometimes notice the skies get darker and a pink fish shadow appearing. Pink fish are “legendary” fish, which give out loads of points to whoever catches them. Sometimes, a special bait is required for them, like a magnet, a cucumber, or a crown. Then there’s also the light green fish shadows, which are plot-relevant fish. You need to catch them to move forward. After you’ve beaten Story Mode, any type of fish you haven’t caught will have its shadow turn yellow, so that you can fill the Fish Journals more easily. Just ignore the blue shadows!

Wait, rewind a bit. What’s that? “Plot-relevant catches”? Yep. It’s not frequent, but it happens. As an example, you know, our ship’s captain? He lost the friggin’ boat’s key. He can’t leave this corner of Japan until you retrieve it. Clearly we are dealing with unprecedented professionalism here! It’s not in Fishing Spot #2, Lake Yamanaka, but it can be found in Spot #3, Arashiyama. Anyway, you get the key for him, and he can finally bring you to a completely different place: ‘MERICA!


But before that, I still have a few more things to explain. The captain will often have missions for you. You don’t really need to complete them, unless they’re plot-relevant. These missions usually involve catching a certain type of fish, sometimes in a certain amount. Of course, you get more points at the end of a day if you completed a mission, so I suggest you try to complete these missions as they appear. However, you can complete only one mission per in-game day.

And of course, there are plenty of things to help you on this quest. In a fishing spot, you can press A to access a menu. There are many options:
-The tackle box, where you can change your bait or your rod. Note that you can already change your bait on the fishing spot by pressing 1 on the Wii remote. However, this section is useful as it changes the selection of fish in the current fishing spot when you leave it, allowing a few pink ones to appear…
-Status, in which you can check your status details, the titles you’ve earned so far, the missions given to you by your ship’s captain, and finally your cell phone’s e-mails.
-The ice chest, in which you can see all the fish – and every other thing, useful or not – that you’ve caught today.
-Your cell phone, on which you’ll frequently receive e-mails. Those will give you advice on each fishing spot, such as which baits work best here, what kind of fish can be caught, any oddities you can come across…
-Letting your pet sleep for a few hours. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it has a purpose. I just haven’t found it yet. Basically, you skip a few hours, it also resets the fish in the current fishing spot, allowing new ones to appear. I suppose that's all it's there for...
-Leave fishing spot: Self-explanatory.

Lugworm, Spring, 11:08. Yep, that's a normal fishing day.
It's a shame seasons are so short in this world. Can't ever
enjoy summer long enough, can't ever stuff the winter
coats in the wardrobe for too long.
By the way, why do you travel around with a pet? Because, sometimes, when you run around the small patch of land from which you cast your line, your dog or your cat can come across free bait to add to your inventory. They can also grant a greater chance of combos that temporarily paralyze the fish you’re trying to catch, or find other bonuses. So, they’re not ultra-useful, but it’s still a neat little touch. Especially if they find a type of bait that you need.

Another mechanic in this game is the rotating seasons. You see, the season changes every few days; first it’s spring, then summer, then autumn, then winter, and so on. Some locations are unavailable on certain seasons only, so plan your trips carefully. Also, some species of fish can only be caught during certain seasons. This includes the pink fish, which are highly sought after. This means a LOT of mechanics to take into consideration. That’s why I like this game. It’s complex, but once you understand how everything works, you have a blast with it.

So, the second part of this quest brings us to ‘MERICA, the land of quirky card game inventors, shameless cheaters and burger eaters. Oh, and plenty of normal people too. The first stop in America is, of course, Hawaii. Here, your character is fishing on a boat, so you can’t trust the fish shadows. However, you can try trolling (that is, aiming for the places where there’s underwater movement, as revealed by splashes). Hawaii is probably the first location in the game where all your fishing talents are put to the test. The captain’s mission, here, is to catch a rather rare fish that only responds to certain kinds of bait… basically, what’s gonna become the norm later on.

Oh, by the way, this is also the first place where you can see and catch some truly epic creatures. As an example, the Plankton bait isn’t very useful here, as it catches only one type of fish… but that’s one fish that is guaranteed to put up one Hell of a fight, and a fish that’s guaranteed to be huge: The manta ray.

I CAUGHT A TWENTY-THREE FEET LONG MANTA RAY IN HAWAII. NO, REALLY.

AWESOME.

I know it's not a picture from the game.
It's just meant to illustrate.
The sheer awesomeness of a giant manta ray cannot be put in a picture.

The next spot you unlock is San Francisco. If you buy the Glove bait, you can catch a baseball there during summer. Also, this is where you meet a smartass kid with a smug grin. I could call him Proto-Gideon Graves, but I have a feeling that this will be our rival, the same way Blue was Red’s rival. Hey, can I pick his name? I choose to call him Keith. Pretty please, tell me his name is Keith…

“Keith” leaves after calling himself superior and letting his smugness reach critical mass. I have a feeling it will be extremely satisfying to beat this guy in the fishing competition. That or I can throw my 23ft. manta ray at his face.

I guess I’ll spend Part 2 discussing the plot in greater depth… See ya!