E3 2019 Hands-on – Reel Fishing: Road Trip Adventure
When I was first introduced to Reel Fishing: Road Trip Adventure, I was told by Natsume that the developer’s biggest influences when developing this new game were Persona and The Legend of Zelda. Mind you, we’re talking about a fishing game. I didn’t know if I should laugh or just scratch my head, yet I went along with it. You know what’s even more confusing? The developer was totally right, there’s a bit of Persona in Reel Fishing, and it doesn’t look weird after you play it for a while.
Reel Fishing: Road Trip Adventure is all about fishing, selling your catches, and collecting resources. You control a team of three students, each one with his/her specific roles in this road trip. Your main character is the one who fishes and earns money for the team. Your male buddy is responsible for scavenging for extra resources, bait, as well as crafting new types of rods. Finally, your female friend is responsible for cooking dishes that help increase your stats, such as strength and stamina. Weirdly enough, she won’t cook fish you catch: those are only used to be sold in a store, and then you buy ingredients for your dishes, as well as other useful items. That’s the core loop: improve your rod in order to catch better fish in order to afford better food that will help you catch even better fish. Simple and intuitive.
The fishing mechanics themselves, thankfully enough, aren’t very simulation-heavy. The most challenging aspect of the whole core gameplay is to avoid having your line torn, as indicated by a flashing red color whenever the fish is trying to get away. There are also some occasional quick-time events. There won’t be any motion-based controls in either the PS4 or Switch versions, with the only “immersive” controller feature present in both versions being rumble effects acting as a sonar of sorts.
The RPG mechanics in the game are very slight, being limited to mostly buffs and perks to improve your fishing skills. The whole Persona similarities lie in the game’s art style: its character designs and menu interfaces scream “I played a ton of Persona and was inspired by it”, and that’s definitely not a bad thing.
The whole gameplay loop wasn’t very complex or groundbreaking, but I’m glad the developers didn’t try to make a fishing game too complicated. Despite the short demo, and the fact that, well, it’s a fishing game we’re talking about, I was surprised with Reel Fishing: Road Trip Adventure. I might actually be looking forward to a fishing game for once in my life. Life is weird…