Game of the Day: RIDICULOUS FISHING
A friend (a genuine professional game reviewer person!) described it as "terrible" and "a bad design," and then muttered quietly to himself about how addictive it is and tried in vain to beat my depth. It is simple, and if you need your graphics to look like INFINITY BLADE you will be sad, but I know there are folks like me that miss arcade gems like CENTIPEDE and SPY HUNTER that will feel right at home with this title.
You are Billy, fisherman, hunter, gadabout. You take out your little boat and drop line and so starts the game. The line plunges and on the way down, you tilt your iOS device back and forth to avoid fish, as hooking one will reverse the line. Once that inevitably happens, you try to catch as many fish as possible on the way back up, avoiding some jellies that will cost you money and some fish that just suck, to be frank. (Lesson learned, baby-pooping Carrier). Then you gently lift the fish into your cooler, just like on the pond... Haha, no, you fling them into the air and shoot them with bazookas of course.
Like a million other games, fish earn you money, money gets you upgrades, upgrades let you get more fish. But there is some wonderful charm built in that is missing from soulless cash-in games that dominate the genre. The upgrades range from the obvious (more fishing line) to the subtle (wizard robe) and all manner of weapons and line protectors (toaster!) in between. The refreshing change of pace is that the game is not looking for constant monetization schemes. There's no option to buy "money" or advancement like in JETPACK JOYRIDE or SKI SAFARI. You don't feel like you are constantly being sold something, as in BEJEWELED BLITZ. You pay $3, you get the whole game, and there's a lot to love.
More than other developers, Vlambeer seems to really get the concept of coin-op design. This game plays like one you plunked a quarter into and are trying to keep going for as long as possible. The vertical scrolling reminds me of dodge'em race games like OUTRUN and SPY HUNTER. I am glad this is $3 on iOS, because I would have spent more than 12 quarters on it, for sure.
Also, there is some serious indie cred here: Programmed by Vlambeer (of SUPER CRATE BOX fame), with graphics by Greg Wohlwend (of SOLIPSKIER, HUNDREDS, GASKETBALL, and music by Eirik Suhrke (of SCB, HOTLINE MIAMI, and SPELUNKY.) I feel like people are turning every indie developer into some kind of Phil Fish-hipster-asshole and discounting their efforts by association, but don't. Rise above. Look at the games--the games are amazing. Tight as hell, sweet music and sound, great looks--they are fun. If you want to know what an asshole in game development is really like, talk to the head of QA for EA, id or some other big dev house. Being faceless doesn't make a vendor better. It just makes them corporate.
RIDICULOUS FISHING was also the victim of cloning; a topic Vlambeer has actually given talks on. GameNauts rushed "NINJA FISHING" to market and had the audacity to offer a revenue share to Vlambeer. "Hey, we stole your game, made a shitload of money. Do you want some?" Gamenauts has 12 MILLION downloads across iOS and Android, and, of course, tons of opportunities to buy shit with real money every time you play. It's free, so play them both and see what it's like to not have a soul.
Skip the latté today and get RIDICULOUS FISHING. Support indie development, and play this awesome game. Go ahead and friend me ("jeblucas" in GameCenter) and weep at my kilometer-deep runs in The Maelstrom.