Name: Ninja fishing
Release: 4 August 2011
Price: $0.99 – Buy Now
As a huge fan of Fruit Ninja, I came into this game with high hopes. After all, if I gained so much enjoyment from swiping across my screen to cut some fruit I figured fish could only be more fun – especially since they smile at you with their fishy smiles.
It was a pleasant surprise to discover that the game delivers a lot more than what you’d expect from the title. Instead of just being a Fruit Ninja knockoff with fish instead of fruit, it has a whole other aspect to it as well. In this game not only do you need to cut up the fish but you also need to get them your damn self, you lazy sod.
The game starts off with your ninja casting his line into the deep blue and the aim is to get as far down as you can. This involves using a tilt-control to avoid snagging fish for as long as possible, because as soon as you snag your first one the ninja gets excited and starts reeling the line back up. If you get into a sticky situation with hordes of fish surrounding you, you have the failsafe of a turning your hook into a drill (with your ninja powers?) for a small period of time and cutting through them. Once you’ve achieved that first nibble and the ninja starts maniacally reeling in you get more fish attached to your hook by swinging it around at fish as you go past them hoping that they decide to grab on as well. However, some of them are either too smart or simply understand the basics of fishing because even if you position it right over them they won’t attach to the hook.
After your fishing line makes it to the surface the fish are thrown up into the air and then comes the slicing. The fish are thrown up in rounds, each round is accompanied by a stick of dynamite that – if you hit – ends the game. This can be a real pain in the ass if you end the game in the first or second round and you know that you had some real doozies coming up to be sliced.
There’s more of a hectic swiping around than in Fruit Ninja because to cut a fish you have to get it at exactly the right angle otherwise they just bounce around uselessly. Apparently this special ninja blade is made of one thin slice of super sharp steel and the rest is bouncy rubber. This gets especially frustrating if you’re trying to juggle a few at a time while avoiding the dynamite sticks.
This game really makes you work for your money, a lot of the time most of your earnings will come from the million common ones you get instead of the one or two rare ones you might manage. You also don’t get a bonus for slicing a few in one go, which dismayed me when I sliced three in a row and was expecting a virtual pat on the head but received none.
The game progresses depending on money that you earn by catching and slicing up fish. When you first start off you’re limited to going 25m down and can only catch 25 fish on the one hook. You can increase this over time, until you end up in the pitch-black depths where the fish don’t smile as much. The ‘shop’ in which you buy upgrades has an almost Farmville feel to it, that desperate hunt for the equipment that will make an already simple game even simpler. After numerous upgrades you can almost abandon the ‘tilt to get further down’ concept entirely and rely on the upgrades.
However, apart from being able to go further down and snag a wider variety of fish there is no real progression in the game. After a while the tap, tilt, slice of it all gets very repetitive.
The soundtrack to this game seems to grab the ninja concept and run with it. It sounds like something Mr Miyagi would listen to while practicing his crane kick. I found it fantastic for focusing my concentration on wrangling some wrigglers (I don’t know fishing terms, forgive me). It’s all very Zen, including the nature sound effects they include of tweeting birds and underwater bubbles.
The graphics are done in the usual cartoony and cute style that is the basis of many games on the iOS. They inject some attempts at humour at the beginning of each game in the form of ninja dialogue and this can range from a Rebecca Black reference to game hints.
I have to agree with the publishers, Gamenauts, that for a fishing game it is freaking awesome. I thoroughly enjoyed it, even though after playing it for a while you tend to go a bit Gollum-crazy, muttering about accidental catching of fish, fish that just won’t bite, and that gorramn dynamite. It sucks you in and kicks your tolerance around for a bit until you either snap and decide to slice your phone for real or think that maybe you should take a break. But isn’t that the reaction to all good games?