Many developers have been going darker with the tones of stories lately. It's time we stop asking definitively if this is a good or bad thing and consider the artistic value at hand.
Ridiculous Fishing – A Tale of Redemption Review
Ridiculous Fishing has had its fair share of issues and controversy since its initial iteration as the flash game Radical Fishing, but none of this matters as Ridiculous Fishing is able to draw you in with its utter absurdity. This non-sensical joy ride certainly lives up to its name and its $3 price tag.
The game revolves around three stages. As you would assume, the main goal is to catch fish, but not everything is as simple as it first appears. Every time you cast you rod you must partake in three distinct modes. The first stage involves dropping your hook into the ocean. Contrary to your initial urge, the goal on your way down is to get as far as possible and to do this you must avoid fish at all cost. If your hook hits a fish you will enter the second stage of the game. In the beginning, this can seem a bit unforgiving, but once you collect enough money to buy some items from the store you be able to go further and further into the depths.
After going as far down as you can you will either hit a fish or rock bottom depending on the level, at which point the dodging and diving turns into a frenzy of catching as many fish as possible. At this stage, the game can become as simple or complex as you wish. Eventually, you learn which types of fish you want to catch and which fish you want to avoid, but the game is just as enjoyable should you decide to catch everything possible on the way up. As your haul gets larger and larger, once you breach the surface prepare for the droll conclusion.
While common convention dictates the easiest way of turning fish into money is to take a haul into port and sell them at market, Ridiculous Fishing seeks to expedite the process with some simple gunslinging. The final stage of the game involves your entire catch being slung high into the sky above you and you shooting as many fish as possible before the fall back into the sea. Just like the second stage of the game you can play with as much or as little strategy as you want. The depth of gameplay permeates throughout the game contributing to the games longevity and upholds the entertainment value as long as there are items in the shop to buy.
Accompanying the main game is your effervescent pigeon which compiles the bulk of the games story and more strategic elements into one convenient place. The primary purpose of the pigeon is to buy up items at the in game store. Breaking the trend of many iOS games, Ridiculous Fishing offers no real-money transactions. All the items in the store can only be purchased with the in-game money you earn from shooting fish by the boat load. The store offers a great variety of items some required to progress to other maps and eventually finish the story, but mostly of an optional nature. As you progress to deeper and deeper maps you will need a longer line. Certain items will allow you to skip ahead to deeper points in maps you’ve already completed, while others will turn your hook into a menacing drill equipped with Toasters, Hair Dryers and Antigravity devices. All of which extend the experience and allow you to foray deeper and shoot higher then you could ever before.
Among the foray of required items there is an abundance of optional items. Tired of shooting at fish with your trusty ol’ pistol, how about trying your hand at Akimbo Miniguns. Not explosive enough? Then give the Orbital Ray or Bazooka a go. None of the guns are necessary and they typically cost exorbitant fees, but they make the final stage much more ridiculous, and in doing so, increasingly entertaining. Other optional purchases include a variety of hats and clothes your fisherman can wear signifying unique fish caught, or new places unlocked.
Beyond the store and the actual fishing game itself, Ridiculous Fishing also offers a fake twitter feed called Byrd which will update you with messages from in-game characters reflecting on recent purchases and achievements. It is also from here you access different fishing holes courtesy of Sea-Charts.com. If you want to make sure your catching all the right fish or perhaps check if you missed a few in your favorite fishing hole you can always check you Fish-o-pedia, purchased for a nominal fee at the store. These extraneous features are a source of unique humor that does well in separating the game from any who might try their hand at copying it.
The bow on top of this neatly wrapped package is the controls. The incredible use of the iPhone’s gyroscopic controls makes every movement in this game feel tight and responsive, and you’ll never feel frustrated because the hook didn’t move just right or the gun didn’t fire where you wanted. This shines in later levels where it might be necessary to weave through a gap only open for the briefest of moments, or catch a fish hanging dangerously close to a jellyfish, or even shoot a single valuable fish surrounded by jellyfish.
You will definitely get three dollars worth out of this game, but it does have a falling off point due to a number of issues. In many ways this is a game out of time and place on the iOS platform which has turned into a rodeo of microtransactions and games constantly reminding you to tweet your progress or send messages to friends who haven’t bought the game. Ridiculous Fishing does none of this, where everyone is going left, this game takes a hard right, but not necessarily for the better.
There is no communication with friends in the game. The only connection to the rest of the world is a single global leaderboard on depth, only one of the facets of this game. The game could have easily been improved with a friends only leaderboard which featured other criteria like who shot fish highest into the sky, number of fish caught in a single run, or even the amount of money made in a single run. None of these metrics, which would seem important and could easily fuel competition between friends, are tracked anywhere.
Even looking past that, if you venture into the infinite depth the game seemingly punishes you for doing so, and this feeds into a greater problem. When you first play the game the threes stages are cohesive and come together for a rewarding experience, but at the end it just gets in the way. This is in part due to a greater issue with the game.
While the game is great for its adherence to in game currency, by not allowing for any microtransactions, the in-game currency depreciates over time. The more money you get the better things you can buy, until a point where you no longer need money, at which point the last two stages become obsolete, other than for pure fun. In this manner, the game could have benefited from several changes.
The game could have offered temporary or one time use power ups purchased only with in-game currency to serve as money sinks. The game also could have benefited from arcade modes, wherein you only play one of the three game modes: diving, fishing, or shooting. If you are trying to go for record depth, the deeper you go the longer the trip up, especially given you don’t need the money. If the game was about diving as the leaderboard’s suggest then there should also have been the ability to abort after losing instead you are stuck spending more and more time catching and shooting fish which are good for nothing once you’ve purchased everything in the store.
In the end though these complaints are largely conditional on the basis you continue to play after having purchased everything in the store. The game could have better implemented social functions, but for three dollars the game being offered is more than enough to justify the cost. From the witty humor to the surprisingly deep strategy Ridiculous Fishing is a game worthy of gracing any iPhone owner’s phone.