Ridiculous Fishing - A Tale of Redemption for iPad and iPhone review: Completely ridiculous game themed around fishing
It is ridiculous. It is indeed about fishing. It's also one of the finest games of the App Store, ever. Not in scale, graphics, ambition or anything that 'finest' would traditionally evoke, but in terms of being a near-perfect fit for those snatched moments of time we do our touchscreen gaming in, for achieving that deadly 'just one more' go pull but without seeming hollow with it. Ridiculous Fishing!
Fishing because you play as a guy sitting on boat with a fishing rod, ridiculous because said rod can drop its line about a kilometre deep and return to the surface with dozens of fish attached. At which point, they're thrown into the air and you catch them by firing a pistol, shotgun, machinegun, minigun or worse at them. Some unseen store somewhere is for some reason buying these bullet-ridden piscine carcasses, but hey, don't ask. The earnings are spent on rod upgrades such as a hook-mounted chainsaw, line extensions, toasters and hairdriers to electrocute any finish you prematurely come into contact with, and better guns and clothes for the fisherman.
The core of the game is a tilt-based endless runner-style thing, but rather than Temple Run's exhausting leaping, ducking and swerving, all you're doing is trying to avoid your hook snagging a fish to soon. The deeper the hook can sink before one of our gilled friends gets its lip caught on it, the longer the 'level' can continue. You want to catch fish on the way up, not the way down, y'see - so the further the line's gone, the more mass of ocean it has to retreat through, with you tilting left and right frantically to try and pick up everything in sight. Apart from the anemones and jelly-fish which cost you money if caught, however. It's very, very simple really, but that it climaxes in that explosion of skyward-flung fish and a crazed assault on them with an automatic weapon makes even the most inept fishing attempt seem worthwhile in the end.
It's the humour and the cheerfully bizarre art that really makes it all come together. As your lonely fisherman gradually bulks up his arsenal and starts dressing in ever-more inappropriate clothing, his ostensibly tedious adventures are narrated by an in-game Twitter spoof. Unseen rivals and friends howl in approval and jealousy, while successfully netting enough different species of fish will see you move to different fishing areas containing increasingly absurd marine life.
In the end though, it all comes down to the fact that, in the space of thirty seconds, you can chainsaw your way through a bunch of crabs, electrocute a few swordfish then minigun a narwhal to death. An appropriately ridiculous adventure, every time.
A small, simple idea realised with remarkable aplomb and high humour. It's not so much that Vlambeer's game make fishing ridiculous, and more that it removes all traces of tedium or even reality from it, instead turning it into a wonderfully compulsive game of challenging yourself. It even makes oft-mocked tilt controls seem like a good idea for once.