Bit Golem have been busy in their waders and cagoules learning all there is to know about fishing. All that hard work has turned into Ultimate Fishing Simulator. So has it all been worthwhile? Time to pack my sandwiches, make a thermos of tea and delve into the world of fishing. Will I find a whopper or will I reel in a tiddler?
Ultimate Fishing Simulator looks quite intimidating when you first start. It seems that there are lots of things I need to be a successful angler, rod, line, hooks, bait etc… I have a basic set up and a little money so I can dive straight in. So that is the plan. There is only one choice of destination when starting a new game, the lovely picturesque Betty Lake up in the mountains.
I tried nothing fancy at first, simple bait, hook and float. Casting was simple enough, watch the power gauge and stop when you have the right power. The water rippled as my cast landed about 25 metres from where I was standing. I watched and waited until there was a little bit of movement on the float. My body trembled with excitement, was this my first fish? Suddenly my float shot underwater and I pressed the right mouse button. Let the battle commence. I reeled in the slack with the left button and pulled my rod to the left and up (I’d seen that done on TV). The distance reduced and eventually I was the proud owner of a Brook Trout, 0.35kg. There may have been some air punching at this point. I gained some experience to creep closed to the next level and I then had an option, to sell for money, or to release for more experience. I released it, after all, I’m not a monster. (If you want money, you will soon discover that morality will leak from you and you start to sell everything)
Next thing I did was walk around the lake to try out different areas, maybe catch different fish. I started reeling them all in, various species and sizes, some I released and some I sold as I needed to buy better equipment. I upgraded my rod, my line, my reel, my float, my bait etc… Haven’t found the option to buy waders yet, but it’s early days.
I learnt a few tricks in the early days. You can change your view to underwater to see the fish take the bait. This is a lot easier than watching a 2 1/2 inch circle on your screen to see if your float is moving.
I increased in level, I bought new licenses to fish in new locations (or the same location but a different season). I learnt to fish from a boat. My eyesight improved. I was going to be the best angler I could be.
Ultimate Fishing Simulator is never going to replace the real thing. The experience of sitting outside with your dad all wrapped up warm, sitting by the canal watching a float do nothing for hours on end before watching a beautiful sunset. Obviously they were my early fishing exploits, I got better. Had an argument with your partner? Well going into the office isn’t going to be quite far enough away to take your mind away. There will be no bonding sessions between father and son over a crusty bread sandwich and cup of Bovril.
So what do you get? Well you need to practice your luring and fly techniques to catch the big fish. Read the encyclopaedia, learn your prey, make sure the weather is right, the bait is right and your technique is right. Bigger fish means more money, more money means better gear, better gear means bigger fish etc…
The further you get into the game, the more places you unlock to fish. This provides a bit of variety to your fishing experience, different locations have different fish as well.
Sometimes playing Ultimate Fishing Simulator does feel a bit grinding. When you are trying to save for better gear or a new location it can be a bit samey. There is an element of frustration as well when you start catching the big fish and a little one decides to come out to play. That’s life though, so you just have to deal with it. It happens to the pros as well.
Check the leader board to see how you rank against the top 100. See how many fish you need to catch before you start threatening it. It is actually done on weight, so catch big and fast. Don’t forget to check out your trophy room as well where replicas of your greatest catches are kept, or simply warm up by the open fire.
Does it all add up?
What is the point of a fishing game? I mean, in essence it’s like having a gym simulator. The whole purpose of the gym is to either get fit or lose a bit of weight (in my case both). So why would you want to buy a way to simulate it? Cost would be one thing, but money could be spend on more interesting games. I feel similarly about Ultimate Fishing Simulator. Fishing is an experience, it’s about nature and getting close to it. You can not realistically simulate the breeze, the smells, the interaction with your surroundings. For me this means that a lot about fishing is missing. Maybe the game should have been called Ultimate Fish Catching Simulator as the only part being simulated is the catching of the fish. Having said that, I can not judge a game on something it will never be able to do. Well unless there is a way to rig up a USB fan to the game to simulate wind, and even that is only one aspect of it.
Ultimate Fishing Simulator has spent a fair amount of time getting the graphics right. The mountains in the distance, the trees, the water rippling effects. These are all exceptionally good and add to the realism of the game. I did however notice a few issues, but only because I was being picky. The reflection of the background in the water doesn’t seem to match the actual background overly well. I noticed that trees were missing at Betty Lake, and the snow on the mountain was in a different place. Fish jump out of the water, you sometimes see them accelerate before leaping. The splashes at the moment seem to be roughly within a foot of where the fish lands. The splashes from a caught fish are not overly accurate as well. Underwater looks incredibly like I have taken something I shouldn’t have. Whilst these don’t really interfere with the game, it would be nice to see these corrected. I also put my camera in a rock. Some of the issues I was going to mention have been corrected since I started playing, so I’m hopeful that the other issues are being worked on.
Ambience and peacefulness are the fisherman’s friend. Ultimate Fishing Simulator provides this in abundance. The birds cheep, the insects chatter to themselves, even the click of the reel seems therapeutic. Nothing is overstated or exaggerated, even the music for the menu screen is not annoying. I could listen to the water ripple, the fish jump and the crickets chirping all day long. Ultimate Fishing Simulator has done a very good job of recreating nature.
Ultimate Fishing Simulator is without doubt a very good game. From a gamers point of view it doesn’t have the cut and thrust of a gun battle against a hoard of hungry zombies, but as a fishing game it provides everything you could hope for in a game. There is the ongoing challenge of getting to the top level, and there are competitions to enter. All this considered I think that I will definitely be revisiting Ultimate Fishing Simulator often to level up in at my own leisurely pace. This is a beautifully crafted game and very much enjoyable after a hard days work. Hat’s off to Bit Golem for a great well thought out game. The only thing I would add is an alien planet location with freaky fish and neon glow in the dark tackle. Make it really expensive to do as well so there is a big goal at the end. Will be a bit of fun as well.
Ultimate Fishing Simulator with it’s authentic solitude, beautifully crafted scenic graphics and ability to keep you hooked for hours on end, has reeled in a fintastic Thumb Culture Gold Award.
Disclaimer: We received a code to complete this game review. No fish were hurt in the playing of this game.