We’ve seen a handful of fishing games on the App Store, but Gameloft’s Fishing Kings is probably the most console-like experience of them all. The game contains some setbacks that keep it from achieving greatness, but we’d still bite at $2.99.
At the start of Fishing Kings, you are an amateur in the fishing scene whose aspiration is to become world-renowned for hooking the biggest and baddest sea-dwellers in the ocean. Through a long string of missions that bring you across five locations and fifteen fishing spots, you’ll work towards achieving your dream.
Fishing in paradise.
Different mission types include timed tournaments to catch the largest fish and orders from local stores asking for a certain amount of a species. To make things less confusing, missions are accepted via emails on your virtual PDA and bring you right to where you need to be. In the email there is also information about which of the five types of tackle to use. With 33 different fish species to catch, it’s nice not to have to memorize which fish favor which tackle.
As you complete missions, you’ll earn money. This can be spent to upgrade your tackle, line, reel, and fishing rod. There isn’t much explanation of what these upgrades actually do, but each does come with a new look.
Where Fishing Kings falters is in the gameplay. Casting out is easy, in that you get to pick exactly where your line will hit the water and all you need to do is flick the device forward. Once you hit the water, you’re brought to an underwater view where you can tap on fish to see their species and favorite tackle (although some fish will bite any of them, regardless). However, you’ll notice some buggy fish, along with poor camera controls that snap back to the original position almost instantly after you try to move it, which can break the sense of realism.
These fish smile all the way in.
Reeling in a fish is a chore. Once you shake the phone to hook a biting fish, power meters pop up. Much like in Flick Fishing, your goal is to keep the power meter from hitting the red area. Besides being way too forgiving, the real problem is the tilt controls. The hooked fish will randomly swing back and forth, causing you to turn the phone at one of three angles. This leads to some uncomfortable playing positions that kill the relaxation associated with fishing.
Still, Fishing Kings has beautiful graphics and enough content to justify a purchase. Plus, the price is right. If you can’t get out to a real fishing spot, this is a pretty good alternative.