At first glance, fishing doesn’t exactly seem like a natural basis for a videogame – well, a decent on at any rate – but that hasn’t stopped some developers having a crack at it.
That said, Euro Fishing from Dovetail Games, come pretty damn close to the real thing. There are a couple of niggles of course, but then again, no video game is perfect.
If the name sounds a bit familiar, Dovetail Games are the guys behind Train Simulator and the recently released Flight School. Needless to say, the company knows a thing or two about simulator games. Even so, it’s surprising just how intuitive and fun the developer managers to make its fishing sim.
Euro Fishing Review: Modes
Before players get their rods wet, they have a choice between the single and multiplayer modes.
Starting with single player, here players can enter the game’s Academy (a fancy title for the tutorial) – putting their fishing skills to the test against other AI anglers in various tournaments – or they can engage in Freedom Fishing, which is fishing solo with no timers or score counters.
In multiplayer, players can enter a Live Tournament (which pits them against other real-world players) or if they want to still be competitive on a smaller scale, they can fish with online friends competing for the biggest haul.
Setting up an angler will takes a bit of work though; players can’t just walk up to the nearest body of water and expect to land Moby Dick.
Euro Fishing Review: Your tackle
Aspiring Captain Ahabs will have to fill out their tackle box first. Instead of working on an Experience Point bases, Euro Fishing makes use of Tackle Points (TP) to supplement the player’s aquatic arsenal.
It still makes use of Experience points, with the amount based on the weight of the fish you catch, but we are not entirely sure why that matters. All that we can see that it counts towards, is the player’s overall fishing rank.
Tackle Points are awarded in the same manner as XP, but here Tackle Points are more valuable. They are used as the in-game currency to buy better rods, tackle and bait.
Here the mechanic is fairly simple: the bigger the hooks one buys, the bigger the fish they catch. But naturally, players need to buy the right bait for each hook as well. Trust us, it can get very complicated after a while.
To make matters worse (or better, depending on how you look at it), the store is divided into four sections: Course, Match, Carp and Stalking (fishing from the shore). Each category’s stock is for a different kinds of catch, and requires varying amounts of Tackle Points.
Players also can’t buy just buy anything they want, as they need to unlock items first by buying from lower tiers.
Euro Fishing Review: To the water
Once the tutorial’s done, it’s time to hit the water. To cast a line, players have (once again) two option to choose from – a manual cast, or a somewhat easier “automatic” cast.
The latter uses a simple click on a button to cast your line, but distance is diminished. Manual casting is a tricky affair, as the player has to make use of a combination of buttons, motions and timing to cast as far as possible.
It is frustrating at first, but once they get the hang of it, players should be able to cast a decent line the majority of the time.
Remember when we said that bait needs to match the right hook? Well, here it comes into play as well. Depending on what hook is selected, the chances of getting a (bigger) bite will increase if the hook lands in the right area i.e gravel, silt and weeds.
Cast a silt hook into weeds, or a gravel hook into silt, and you could wait a while for the fish to bite. It might sound complicated, but it gets easier once you start to understand how the mechanics work. Luckily, all of that is explained in the tutorial.
Once the fish is on the hook it’s simple: just reel in, keeping an eye on the line’s tension, and the fish will be in a net pretty soon.
Euro Fishing Review: A
nibble niggle here and there
But it can’t be all sunshine and big catches, as Euro Fishing has its fair share of problems – not huge ones, but enough to make the game more frustrating than it should be.
As a first example, cat fish is one of the biggest types of fish that you can haul, but with their size they fail horribly at staying hidden from view. It seems that whenever they get really close to the shore, they develop a need to dive down head first. As a result, it leaves their tails sticking out of the water like seaweed.
For some odd reason, occasionally fish develop the urge to walk. If you reel in the fish too close to the shore on some maps, the fish will “swim” onto dry land.
While it might actually sound funny, the line tension goes through the roof and eventually snaps, so this glitch leaves players with nothing but an empty hand and the minutes lost battling the beast.
Euro Fishing Review: At the end of the well
But these glitches aren’t deal breakers and they don’t change the fact that Euro Fishing is a lot of fun to play. The graphics are solid in true Dovetail Games style and the interface (while somewhat tricky to grasp at first) becomes fairly easy to use with practice.
It is weren’t for the two issues listed above, the game would be as close to prefect as what Dovetail could make it.
If you are into fishing, it couldn’t hurt to give Euro Fishing a try. It is hugely enjoyable, especially when played with a bunch of friends, and it is a great way to waste a good couple of hours.
…and take it from us, when playing with friends (even with the issues) the competition can get rather fierce.
- Euro Fishing was reviewed on a PC. Review code was provided by the publisher.