It's more than just fishing, although I'd be lying if I said if you didn't do a lot of fishing.
It seems a bit unnecessary to explain Fishing Resort: this is perhaps the most descriptive (and least creative) title of any game in history. However, for the sake of “the process,” Fishing Resort is a game about an island where you can fish. A lot. For those already beginning to tune out there is a pretty major surprise here: Fishing Resort is a surprisingly involving title with a great deal of unexpected, although assuredly fish-related, diversity.
Fishing, obviously, is the main draw. I’m hardly a professional angler, but Fishing Resort has given me my own “fish that got away” stories. Protracted battles with massive fish punctuate extended periods of tranquil quiet. A seemingly endless menagerie of fish, from absolutely tiny to impossibly gigantic, make each new species caught the source of a brief celebration. With over 200 species to catch, spread across the island’s eight biomes, it seems impossible to catch ‘em all. It hasn’t stopped me from getting invested in the pursuit. Getting on streaks of catching the same fish is enough to draw ire, especially when trying to expand the fish collection and level up.
Yes, Fishing Resort has a level system. Beyond the simple quest for sea creatures, Fishing Resort is a bit of a semi-open world RPG. While it’s a bit of an old example, Mario Tennis on the GBA is a good approximation. Each of the island’s zones is populated with more than just fish. Throughout are people offering up quests, mini-games, and challenges that can be completed for points (money). These points can be spent to gain access to new areas on the island, buy better tackle, rent vehicles for your daily travels, upgrade the aquarium that houses your fish collection, and yes, pay your lodging fees. It’s true most of the quests follow the “if you have a hammer…” line of thinking, but with a fishing rod; the name of the game is Fishing Resort, so that’s perfectly acceptable (and sometimes silly – “catch a fish to find a lost child”).
While most of the non-fishing isn’t that interesting on its own, exploring the massive and diverse areas of the island does prove a nice distraction and makes earning access to other parts of the island a good impetus to keep at it. Fishing Resort probably isn’t the kind of game somebody can play for hours at a time: the very act of reeling by “reeling” the Nunchuk can prove exhausting. It is, however, the kind of game that I can (and have) return to for short play sessions every day. It’s also worth noting that the quests you get from people aren’t very numerous, although the ones you can get from the resort staff can be repeated.
Fishing Resort has a silly personality that presents a nice contrast to the rather sedate fishing. It isn’t an explicit attempt at humor. Rather, it is a more subtle series of accents within the game world that provide brief moments of levity. It would be best to explain by citing instances of a rather simple part from the game: displaying the catch. After catching most fish my character holds up the catch, it is measured and given a letter grade, and a happy jingle plays. When a small fish is caught the camera zooms in hard, as the fish really is small, leaving only half of my angler’s face in shot. When the fish is just a couple of inches long it can be a funny image. Catching seaweed or driftwood does exactly the same thing, even the jingle, but instead the fisher’s face is contorted into a grimace. Fishing Resort is full of these small, but charming, touches that make the game more inviting.
The visual style of Fishing Resort is a bit of an odd mix. Your character is probably the closest approximation to Nintendo’s own Miis that I have ever seen, except he can wear actual clothing (which you can buy). However, the setting and the fish are very realistically styled and look very sharp. It’s an interesting, although not at all unpleasant contrast. Just exploring the island is enjoyable because of all the hidden channels there are to navigate, and it would not be nearly as engaging if not for the white sands, blue coastal waters, verdant jungles, and frozen wastes. It’s worth getting up early (in game time) to see the stars in the sky and watch the sun rise, if only once.
The game makes a minimalist use of sound. Much like real fishing, things tend to be very quiet and solitary until the fish is on hook. In fact, the only time music plays in game is either in the lobby of a hotel or when you have a bite. It fits with the game: it is peaceful overall, but punctuated by moments of extreme action.
Fishing Resort is a very good package. There are a lot of things to do, and the world they’re done in is attractive and inviting. The slight quirkiness adds a touch of seasoning to what might otherwise be somewhat dry. The game controls well and captures the essence of the fishing experience. Fishing Resort is more than just fishing, but it still might be one of the most approachable fishing games on the market.