Some games are big three course meals with appetizers, aperitifs, side dishes, condiments and elaborate table dressings. Other games are the metaphorical equivalent of chicken nuggets – tasty bites that satisfy the need that all gamers have to play something fun and quick. Ridiculous fishing is the latter, but it’s far more than a cheap value snack. As tasty gaming bites go, it’s more like a Pret a Manger premium sausage roll with organic ketchup than a dried-out Gregs rectangle of crusted pastry with a grey matter filling.
Ridiculous Fishing is both ridiculously simple and ridiculous. You have to destroy different types of fish. You’ll notice I didn’t say you catch them. You destroy them. That’s the second part of the game. The first is that you catch them. Then, when you pull them to the surface they fly into the air and you shoot them. Why? Because fuck them, that’s why!
Vlambeer have created a title that’s reminiscent of the amazing Frog Fractions. Similar to that classic, bizarre webgame, Ridiculous Fishing is all about the power-ups that you unlock as you play that change the fundamental gameplay.
At first, you will be dropping a line down into the water and dodging fish on the way down to get the lure as deep as you can. When you either reach the end of your line or hit a fish, the lure shoots back and you have to tilt your device to hook as many as you can on the way up. You will be trying to beat your furthest depth each time, and this is depicted as a white line you will be trying to get past, representing your best score.
As the fish speed upwards, they will break the surface and fly into the air and you will shoot them all with whatever weapon you have unlocked. Early on, this will be a shotgun or pistol of some sort, but later the ordnance you have to kill all the flying fishes gets pretty…. ridiculous. I don’t want to spoil the surprise of unlocking these weapons, but suffice it to say this is a game that delights in going over the top and surprising you.
And so you settle into a steady rhythm. Drop the lure. Dodge the fish. Grab the fish on the way up. Shoot the fish. Buy items with the money you’ve earned. Drop the lure.
Ridiculous fishing is one of those games that’s simple, compulsive and utterly time consuming. The visuals are basic, the music is simple and the presentation is bare bones. You never set out to play it. Instead, you start it up to kill some time between doing other things. Maybe while your console save game loads or while you’re waiting for your food to cook. The result, more often than not, is an unplayed console game or a burnt dinner. And the next day, when the sun starts coming up and you realise it’s too late to go to bed and you have to go to work soon, you hate Ridiculous Fishing. You hate it for being so good.
8 friendly flying fish, blown to fragments out of 10