Publisher: Forever Entertainment
Price: £8.99 // $9.99
The one and only time I went fishing I failed to catch anything despite my best attempts. I enjoyed the experience but it was a shame not to have anything to show for it. It’s not uncommon to return empty handed from a fishing trip but in Fishing Universe Simulator you’re guaranteed to have a successful haul.
Cast Your Line
The two modes you can play in Fishing Universe are “Free Fishing”, which is self explanatory, and “Fishing Tasks” which give you a set of objectives to complete. For example you are given 20 minutes to catch 5 perch with a combined minimum weight of 2kg. Completing the tasks increases your fishing level which in turn unlock the availability of other fishing locations around the globe. Selling your haul earns you coins which you can use to unlock fishing licences and vast array of equipment for all your fishing needs. The range is impressive: baits, reels, lure catapults, floats, boats, fishing nets, sonar, lines, rods and hooks. There’s lots to choose from!
One of the highlights of fishing is going out and enjoying the surrounding environment. Being at one with nature and finding a temporary escape from the fast paced world we live in. There are different locations around the world where you can fish but I found some locations more tolerable than others. The sounds of birds chirping in the background as I fished in one location I found relaxing and pleasant. On the other hand there was another fishing spot where I had to mute my Switch because the sound effects were so irritating it was putting me off. It was supposed to be the background noise of running water but it was poor quality and sounded more like white noise than the gentle ambient sound of water in the environment.
Let’s Get Physical (Or Maybe Not)
I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed that there is no option to use motion controls. Considering how versatile the Joy-Cons are I think it was a wasted opportunity not to make use of them. I thought I would be able to cast out my line with one Joy-con and then reel it in with the other. Instead everything is done with simple button presses and the use of the analogue sticks. Once you’ve chosen the perfect spot to cast your line, pressing X launches your line and hook. When a fish takes the bait you hook the fish by quickly flicking the left stick upwards and then reel it in by rotating the right stick clockwise. This is fine and it works well but motion controls would have made the game more enjoyable and immersive.
Feel Like a Master At Fishing
One aspect the developers describe in the game overview is that the player won’t get bored waiting for fish to bite. In their own words, “In the Fishing Universe Simulator this will never happen. Select the appropriate equipment and bait, cast your line and wait for a bite. Success is guaranteed!” After having my own experiences with the game, I can see both positives and negatives with this approach.
Firstly I can understand that they would like to make the game accessible to everybody including newcomers to fishing. At the end of the day this is a game, you’re not going to want to wait a long time to not catch any fish. If you have the patience for that than surely would go find a find a fishing spot and go fishing for real.
The massive drawback to this approach is it makes the game very easy. Whenever I cast my line I caught a fish so there wasn’t much challenge to it. Perhaps as you progress further in the game, unlock other locations and catch different fish requiring different techniques and bait, they become harder to catch. Unfortunately I found it difficult to keep interested after a while as it was just too easy.
Plenty More Fish in the Sea
There are no shortage of fishing games available to purchase for the Nintendo Switch. At the time of writing, Fishing Universe Simulator is one of six fishing games you can choose from. One of these games is more of an action game rather than an actual fishing experience so we’ll exclude that one. The other five games range from realistic simulations to a more approachable entertainment focused angling experience. Fishing Universe sits at this end of the scale but does incorporate different techniques and a range of equipment to make it feel more realistic.
Unfortunately I have not played any of the other fishing games so I am unable to compare the gameplay to them. What I can talk about is the price of the game compared to the others on the market. Fishing Universe is the cheapest available at £8.99 / $9.99 while the highest price fishing game available, Bass Pro Shops: The Strike – Championship Edition, retails at £44.99 / $39.99 on the eShop (at the time of writing). The second cheapest fishing game available, Fishing Star World Tour, retails at nearly three times the price of Fishing Universe at £22.49 / $29.99.
When you consider the price point this game still has value for money and when looking at its competitors its very well priced. Yes there are some flaws, and additional features like motion controls available in the other games, the main core fishing game is going to be the same in each and every one. You’re still going to catch fish, one way or another.
I would recommend Fishing Universe Simulator to anybody who is curious at trying out a fishing game but not completely sure they would enjoy it and didn’t want to risk it by paying a high price tag. See it as a stepping stone into the genre of fishing games. If you try Fishing Universe and like playing it, then maybe see what the others have to offer.
This game was provided by Forever Entertainment SA for the purposes of this review.