From the respectable developer SIMS Co. comes the anime-styled fishing simulator Let’s Fish! Hooked On. The game provides a sort of arcade style of play, letting you fish in world tours and compete in various challenges. But where everything SHOULD go right, Let’s Fish! Hooked On does the dubious job of tearing itself apart, and providing an experience akin to ripping your hair out…with your feet.
There is a special place in hell reserved for games like Let’s Fish! Hooked On, that take a solid idea and rape it viciously in a dark alleyway while staring intently into its eyes. A fishing game is an easy enough concept to envision; grab a rod, stick it in the water, and use some sort of button mechanic to reel in whatever happens to latch onto your bait. But whatever brilliant idea sprung to life inside the developer’s head, quickly became a heaping pile of fecal matter when put on paper. Let’s Fish! Hooked On is an embarrassment to all fishing games ever created, but here I am getting ahead of myself.
Perhaps the most frustrating part of this short-lived and highly depressing experience was the fact that the game didn’t teach you a single god damn thing. Going into the training mode, which I expected would be some sort of systematic tutorial for people who have never played the game before, was only a free-to-fish game mode that gave absolutely no form of advice. I had to frantically press different buttons to figure out which thing did what, and yelled at my handheld every time the game left me hanging. It took me well over an hour before I caught my first fish, only because the quicktime touchscreen prompt that appears when a fish bites gave no insight on how to actually use it.
To give a more accurate picture of what the actual fish-catching part of the game entails, imagine trying to reel in a fish like you would in real life. Except while you’re reeling the fish in, you must play a light game of DDR (Dance, Dance, Revolution) simultaneously. All while making sure you’re giving the reel enough slack. For most of the bigger fish, any failure in the quick-time prompts that appear and disappear before you have a moment to think, results in the line breaking, and the fish laughing its ass off as its swims away. Okay the fish doesn’t actually laugh, but I like to imagine it does.
This constant slew of multi-tasking push and pull operates on what is a sluggish touch-screen experience in its entirety. I would find plenty of instances where the touch-screen did not respond to my movements, or acted in a delayed manner that screwed up my timing. Pretty much any fish over the size of 3lb 6oz is a frustrating son of a bitch to reel in. That definitely puts a giant anvil over your head when you attempt the higher difficulty courses and challenges. The CPU competition reels in more fish in 5 minutes than I would expect to catch in 2 hours.
On top of the frustrating controls, there are a number of glitches to be found all over the place. Fish move and respond extremely slowly, and if a fish misses a lure sitting on top of the water, it will glitch out and get stuck. Why the fish would miss the lure in the first place remains to be explained. I have also included a video below detailing a simple button glitch that prevented me from changing my lure, or do anything else really.
Let me make sure not to leave out the wonderful story and characters. You get to pick between 4 different characters, all of which have a predetermined skillset. Of course, the game never does explain what each of their skills actually do. Good stuff. The character I picked was the default loli girl that you see in the boxart above. Apparently the only skill she actually has is not wearing appropriate clothing, because she certainly does not offer anything beyond that. Each character seems to also have some sort of story represented by arbitrary dialogue that rarely relates to fishing. I have not tried using the other characters, but frankly I don’t want to. It’s a shame this is a digital copy, because I can’t destroy it in a creatively disturbing manner. To put things bluntly, I’d rather get reeled in by my asshole than pick this game up again.
Coupled with the aforementioned mess, you also get mediocre graphics and a far from inspiring soundtrack. The underwater seaweed seriously looks 8-bit and pixelated, and thinner than paper. The rain effects are weak and kind of remind me of the PlayStation 1 era. That’s certainly not a good thing.
Let’s Fish! Hooked On is, at its best, a repulsive experience. Any optimism going into the game is met with a wall of painful frustrations, and offers no incentive to play longer than you have to. Considering the average consumer is not forced to play this game for the purpose of writing a review, there is absolutely no reason to pick it up. Unless you like stereotypical loli girls, bad graphics, sluggish gameplay, and fish that completely miss the fucking bait when trying to bite, then keep this on the shelf the next time you see it at your local retailer. Better yet, take it off the shelf and throw it away so that fewer people know it exists. It shouldn’t get that luxury.