Beautiful looking fish easily save a somewhat underwhelming localization.
Fishing games are in a weird place for me. I love the concept of playing a fishing game, but the majority of them haven't been all that exciting. The last one I enjoyed was Prope's Fishing Resort, which was released all the way back in 2011. You would walk around a singular island, snatch up a fish or two, and feel like an utter pro in the process. Fishing Star: World Tour's scope is a bit different in that regard. There aren't places to explore, and instead there are over 50 locations to fish at. As a downloadable title, Fishing Star has all the makings of a good video game. Sadly, the title stumbles a bit when it comes to its localization.
From a gameplay perspective, Fishing Star: World Tour hits it out of the park. Wright Flyer Studios, known for making enjoyable mobile titles, knows how to make a fishing game feel great. They've done so in the past, and the developer is bringing that expertise to a home console. You travel from location to location, meeting requirements in a variety of missions. Once you are done in one place, the game allows you to hop forward quickly and swiftly move to another location. Within those places, it is incredibly easy to swap your fishing gear and continue where you left off. Fishing Star: World Tour is a no-filler experience, and I adore that side of the game. It makes it extremely compelling to play it for a while, and put it down once you feel 100% satisfied.
The gameplay loop is one thing, but the controls are a whole other story. In my mind, Fishing Star: World Tour is best played with motion controls. When I say that, I realize that I am making a certain subset of people unwilling to ever pick it up. The reality is, however, that using separated Joy-Con creates one of the more involved and fun experiences within the genre. You will use one controller to reel the fish in, while the other serves all your rod needs. There is a tension to the proceedings that I found hard to shake off, particularly when huge fish came into the picture. Moving your rod around to keep the fish at bay, slowly reeling it in, and dealing with sudden changes in the fish's pattern felt special.
There are two complaints I have with the game. While the mission structure works like a charm, I think that some of the requirements can be incredibly harsh. For example, one of the fish had like a 10% chance of popping up. Due to the game's RNG nature and focus on swapping tools, there is a huge chance that you're stuck in a hole for a while. There were moments where I was held up 30 minutes at the location after doing everything else required. That was the most frustrating the game got, and I can't say I was pleased in those instances. Personally though, I found some of the translation errors a lot more upsetting. The English localization is very much all over the place, with some text feeling completely wrong.
Back on the positives, Fishing Star looks incredibly sharp. Seriously, the water physics and how the fish look made me very much a believer. From top to bottom, this is a product made with absolute care and love for the sport. This even translates to the music: a lovable jazz beat accompanies every catching sequence. In addition, the UI is extremely clean and contributes to the fun atmosphere. The actual game side of the experience just goes all the way with its ideas.
All in all, Fishing Star: World Tour was a surprisingly fun little game. While I do think that the progression and localization could use some work, the actual title here leaves me pleased overall. Fishing Star is such a perfect game to play late at night and unwind with after a long day. In those moments, you're forgiving of those more disappointing moments and more focused on the task in front of you. The title isn't designed to be rushed, though better RNG would lessen even a teensy bit of the frustration. While the game can be played with buttons, it should be experienced the way that it was made. The motions controls are an incredibly smart addition and put you closer to the very enjoyable action.