The last time I showed any interest in fishing was when Grander Musashi was still playing on cabled TV. No. I think it was when I couldn’t find the Super Rod in one of the latest generations of Pokeyman. Needless to say, this sport isn’t generally my thing.
Enter Fish Island from NHN Singapore. If anything, this free little 3D fishing delight is a social game with RPG elements aimed to hook you right from the get go – that is right after you’ve made peace with the utterly disheartening loading screen in the beginning.
Like any other social game, you are greeted with routine update checks and a request to register an account. Fortunately, you can opt to register as a guest, or log in via Facebook; sign up for an NHN account if you’d like to play the game across devices.
You are then free to choose your avatar. I chose Max because I was hungry and it reminded me of a certain house that fried chicken built. Having picked one, an NPC will give you your very first set of equipment free of charge and teach you the ropes to becoming a legendary angler.
The goal is to bait the biggest, baddest fish there is for the whole world to see. Gameplay has never been so simple: tap to throw the line, and tap to catch the fish. As it is a social game, there isn’t much of a difficulty curve to keep things challenging. But since it also is an RPG, the fish has HP!
Sea creatures dart from left to right in varying speeds. To catch them, tap whenever the fishes land on a white dot (think whack-a-mole) until their HP is reduced to zero. Missing the rhythm means a lost heart, so be careful. A timer is also placed in the upper right corner of the screen. It is important to note that the fishes must be caught before the time runs out.
A fish can be released or kept after every successful battle. I suggest keeping the chase and selling them at a later time. Quests come in the shape of fishing as well so it is better to be thrifty and scrounge up money whenever possible to be regularly supplied with necessary bait.
Opting to keep the fishes allow you to move them to a snazzy aquarium where they pay you rent by the second. The quality and grade of the fish will determine how much they give you back. Keeping a lot around will help ease any financial burdens you have in-game.
Finishing the tutorial and spending time in Fish Island will lead you to the realization that it also revolves around a “catch-em-all” theme. With over 600 species to put in an aquarium and record in a fishypedia, every bite-sized round of fishing can turn this game into a refreshing buddy for long, boring trips to work and elsewhere.
Lastly, the shop offers a wide array of items for sale. Looking for the right fishing rod, bait, line, and costume can prove to be quite an expensive hobby. Fortunately, once you’ve earned enough experience, the accessories are eventually sold at reduced prices – like a passive skill you don’t have to worry about.
All in all, Fish Island is a refreshing online game. It would definitely have been better had it been playable offline, as well. Nonetheless, it’s a beautiful and thrilling experience similar to real world fishing – minus the sun.
- Cute 3D visuals coupled with soothing and unobtrusive background music make playing the game enjoyable.
- Social ranking is a plus.
- This game is no Grinch – quests are easy to finish; rewards are happily earned at every turn.
- Characters are fully customizable.
- Storage systems won’t allow you to keep a lot of anything. Either use them prematurely, sell for a price, or pay for an expanded storage.
- Game is pretty repetitive. It would probably good to add nets and spears to the mix.
- In-game items are insanely expensive.
- The dual currency in-game means the involvement of real money somewhere down the line.