Let's Fish! Hooked On Review (PS Vita)

Let's Fish! Hooked On (PS Vita)
Let's Fish! Hooked On is the first ever fishing game for the PlayStation Vita developed by Sims, the same developer who worked on SEGA Bass Fishing for the PlayStation 3 and XBox 360.

Let's Fish tries to introduce some twist from the traditional arcade fishing genre. There are four characters in the game: Jamie, Ryuji, Kano, Ai. Each character have their own set of skills and specialty (hooking, casting, fighting, catching). The characters are all well-drawn in anime-style art and look just the same during actual gameplay.

The game starts with a wonderful and colorful main menu. Digging down further will eventually bring you to choose from several modes like challenge, world tour, training, underwater view and tutorial.

Let's Fish! Hooked On - GameplayLet's Fish! Hooked On - FightingLet's Fish! Hooked On - Menu

One of the most marketed feature in this game is the World Tour mode, which kind of acts like the story mode. Like most of the other modes, you'll be able to select one from four of the characters and get to know their background and motivation for joining the tournament. You'll also get the chance to cross roads with the other characters in the game and see a clash of personalities. It's easy to point out however that narrative isn't the strong point of the game and there's nothing here that could make you cry.

In World Tour mode, you'll be able to compete in different tournament classes such as amateur, professional, and master class. You are also ranked based on the classes you've finished so far.

Unlike the challenge mode which starts you with all your skills upgraded to their maximum level, the world tour mode makes you start with a single basic skill. You'll have to join "skill up" tournaments and earn skill points in order to buy new skills or upgrade existing skills.

While the skills influence your success in the game, it's kind of disappointing that you don't have control over these skills and that there isn't any visual effects that tell you that the character is actually utilizing a skill. There's no flashy animations whatsoever, you just spend time acquiring skill points and trust that you are not being psyched to thinking that your efforts are for nothing.

The challenge mode allows you to complete 3 sets of challenges for each world and season where the aim is to star all three levels by completing a goal. Goals can differ from the number of fishes you are required to catch to the total weight required. We find it more engaging than the story mode because the reward has an overall effect in the game. In most cases, we find it easier to just start and beat the challenge modes as they give you more lures. Being able to select the right lure is important in this game, and you can tell so if your character reacts as soon as the lure touches the water.

The challenge mode also hosts the sole point of connectivity with other players in this game. Under it is an option called "online ranking", which allows you to view the worldwide ranking based on max weight, total weight, and total catch. This is one of the parts where "Let's Fish! Hooked On" really got it right because it gives an unlimited amount of replay value.

The underwater view and tutorial modes are the most poorly thought parts of the game. One of the most important aspects of a game is being able to tell the player how a game is played, which even well-known franchises did. You have to understand the fundamentals to really enjoy the game, which the game tutorial itself failed to explain. The allure bar for example is essential in telling the likeliness of a fish to bite your bait.

Jamie, Let's Fish! Hooked OnKano, Let's Fish! Hooked OnAi, Let's Fish! Hooked OnRyuji, Let's Fish! Hooked On

The thrill only starts to kick in once you lured a fish and start fighting. You have to press the directional button indicated on the screen while you're reeling. There are two different reeling strengths underwater which are important to keep in mind to avoid your line from breaking.

The environment is nice and could have been very good to explore. The problem is that the game limits you to moving your boat near the shore and casting only on the farthest point. In almost every level, the light casts a very nice reflection on the water, which makes the environment look lively.

There's some very bad frame drops as soon as you move your boat left or right. Framerate drops, even more significantly when it's raining. There's some core graphical issues here that will completely turn off a gamer with a good eye to animation. The Vita is one heck of a powerful gaming machine, there's no way a game, with a relatively small world and not so complicated character models could slow it down.

The framerate issues become less apparent as soon as you're underwater. The light casts the same wonderful reflection from beneath to the surface of the water, which is really impressive to look at. There are also a few small details like rocks and grasses to make the underwater experience more pleasurable. Some problems that we observed underwater is it's very easy to notice the pixelated grasses when you move the lure near them. The game also uses a lot of clipping for the fishes, which can easily be said as "the fishes suddenly appear" out of nowhere. They also disappear in an instant, and that's creepy.

The music is probably one of the few selling points of the game. It's probably one of the things that will keep you going despite some of the flaws you'll come to uncover. The voice over actors and actresses aren't the best I've heard, but they're not so bad either. Also, most voices fitted the characters except for the character named Ai, who seem to have had a voice too mature for her age (which we assume is from 13 to 19 years and she sounded 25 to 30).

The game provides a relatively easy control scheme. The menus are arranged neatly and in vibrant colors, and alternative controls are provided. For example, you can reel using the X, Circle or Triangle buttons or you can simply use the touchscreen to adjust the strength of your reeling. Also, just in case you're the naughty type, you can tap on the screen and you'll see your character get tickled. Do us a favor, if you're a guy, don't do this to Ryuji.

One weird thing we find about this game is that the game doesn't allow you to capture Screenshots.html, which is odd because better looking Vita games do. The game should have at least provided an in-game snapshot feature and allow players to "share their catch".

The underwater view mode supports the PS Vita's motion sensor feature, but it's very poorly implemented. Also, this mode "does not make you explore" as you probably expect. Just like the other modes where you ride on your boat, there's a lot of limitations on your movements. Why not just use the directional buttons or the analog sticks?

The Verdict

Finally, even after all the ranting, we find Let's Fish! Hooked On to be an addicting game to play. If you give it a chance, and once you get over everything that you'll find wrong in this game, you are sure to get that fun you deserve.

Rating for Let's Fish! Hooked On
Fun Factor:
Game Info:Platform: PlayStation Vita
Developer: Sims
Publisher: Wired Productions
Release Date: 01/29/2013
Price: $19.99
Rating: E Everyone
No. of players: 1
Internet Multiplayer: No
Local Multiplayer: No
Size: 1.5 GB
Website: letsfishgame.com
The Good
  • Well laid-out menus
  • Nicely done levels and water reflections 
  • Wonderfully composed music
  • Good touchscreen controls integration
  • Lovely anime-style character art
The Bad
  • Poorly explained gameplay and lazily done tutorial mode
  • Limited movement and casting options
  • For a very small world and mild graphics feature, this game runs ridiculously slow
  • No difficulty settings and you are always time-pressured means very frustrating gameplay for beginners
  • Bad motion-sensor controls integration in underwater mode

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