Fishing is a tough endeavor, one that isn't as easy as it looks on TV or in the movies. Homer Simpson once had an idea to dump a plugged-in bug zapper into a lake and it resulted in a whole lot of easy-to-catch (if somewhat high voltage) fish. That's a ridiculous idea. Yet it's not as ridiculous as some of the heavy artillery that's used in Ridiculous Fishing, the latest iOS title from Vlambeer (Super Crate Box), Greg Wohlwend (Puzzlejuice), and Zach Gage (Halcyon).
Ridiculous Fishing has a familiar premise--toss out a lure and catch as many fish as possible. That's where the normality ends. Playing in a 2D environment, the idea is to avoid fish while the lure is heading towards the bottom of the sea by using the iOS device's tilt sensor. Using the same tilt mechanics, players want to pick up as many fish as they can on the way back up. It's when the fish reach the surface that things take a turn for the wacky. The fish all fly into the air, as the fisherman pulled out a gun. Players must tap on the screen as fast as they can in order to blow away all of their targets and pull in a hefty sum of cash. It's a simple formula that most players will understand after just a couple of games.
Each session of Ridiculous Fishing won't go beyond a couple of minutes, but this crew of developers knows how to keep their audience coming back. There's the initial frustration of missing those few precious fish on the way back up, which brought me back to the game several times. There's are also dozens of unlockables, all of which are earned through cash made in-game. These items add a fresh dimension to the game, offering up additional meters of line, different weapons (some of which alter the tapping mechanic), and even extra attachments to help the game last a little longer. You may not have Homer Simpson's bug zapper, but you can use a toaster and a hair dryer--a must-own for every would-be fisherman.
The other unlockable system comes through species of fish captured. Catching a certain number of fish types will open up new maps and open up another broad spectrum of fish. While the environments are nothing to write home about, I did appreciate the new potential targets I ran across. I soon went from catching run-of-the-mill minnows to other denizens of the sea, like crabs and sea turtles--though not jellyfish, as they deduct from the cash count. Part of the joy of Ridiculous Fishing is seeing how many different classes of fish can be caught--and how many can be blown into atoms with a minigun.
If I have a gripe with it, it's that it's not quite an ideal title for the bulky iPad, because of the tilt mechanics. I got a few stares at the Shack offices when I attempted to tilt my large iPad back and forth, making this a more ideal title for my iPod Touch. The other issue I ran across was with save files. After deciding to take my fishing expedition from my iPad to my iPod Touch, I noticed that I suddenly had to start from scratch. It was a minor annoyance, since I enjoy the game so much, but it did set me back a bit.
Vlambeer, Wohlwend, and Gage have created one of the most incredible games I've seen so far on iOS with Ridiculous Fishing. It's not a visual stunner, but the sheer amount of content is mind-blowing, with none of it coming via the microtransaction. It's also incredibly addicting--a perfect game to take on-the-go. It'll bring you all the fun of fishing with firearms--while also teaching you how to hate jellyfish.
This Ridiculous Fishing review is based on a copy of the game provided by the developer, tested on a third-generation iPad and third-generation iPod Touch. The game is now available on the App Store (Universal) for $2.99.