Have you ever daydreamed about relaxing on a secluded island beach and casting your line? That dream is no longer a dream, thanks to Desert Island Fishing, a new indie game about catching exotic fish and being stuck on a desert island. Comparable in some ways to Ridiculous Fishing, Desert Island Fishing takes a more casual and lighthearted approach. Whether you're a fan of the actual sport or not, the act of casting and catching is tons of fun. Simple fishing fun can function just fine, but its the attention to detail and style that makes Desert Island Fishing a vacation worth taking.
Perhaps that's a bit misleading, as our protagonists in Desert Island Fishing are quite stranded. Finding yourself on a tiny island in the Pacific Ocean, you cast your line in hopes of finding anything to help. The whole “surviving on an island” ordeal is downplayed, so you won't have to worry about keeping your character healthy. Instead, the aim of the game is to skillfully cast your line and amass an impressive collection of aquatic creatures.
The act of fishing is arcade-like and enjoyable, sure to entertain any sort of player. You swipe your finger up on the screen to cast your line, with the distance of your swipe indicating the depth you'd like to cast. Then, you tap your screen as icons line up with each other, and attempt to reel in the fish by holding your finger on the screen. It sounds simple enough, but the game quickly adds more layers, providing a surprisingly deep system.
You aren't just catching fish for the fun of it, but rather to upgrade your character and obtain new bonuses and skills. At any time, you'll have a list of fish and items that are sought after. Catching these goodies allows you to trade them in, often rewarding you with skill points that you can allot to your character. If you're ever confused about where a required fish might be hiding, you can easily pull up the fish chart. The fish chart shows you silhouettes of the creatures you can catch at varying depths, making your search easier.
The features don't stop there, as Desert Island Fishing is more complex than what originally meets the eye. After spending some time on the first island, you'll truly see the amount of options available. By using gold and treasure found during your fishing, you can upgrade and purchase new fishing rods, purchase bait for rare fish, and upgrade your hooks. Eventually, you'll be able to showcase your most prized catches in an aquarium. This allows you to earn gold over time, increasing your stash and further perpetuating your rise to a fishing legend.
As I alluded to before, Desert Island Fishing contains much more than one island. On the map screen, there's eight different locations to visit. Some are completely different islands with their own stranded character, fish to collect, and secrets to uncover. Some are special locations like the “treasure island”, where you'll most likely catch giant clams with pearls. The features don't stop there, either. You can get game carts that unlock fun arcade experiences in the menu, you'll collect junk mail hoping for a trip to treasure island, and generally have a great time. If there was one thing I could change about Desert Island Fishing, it would be the inclusion of a character creator. The characters in Desert Island Fishing are cute and pixelated, and while there is some story that is specific to each character, it would be fun to have your own.
Regardless of your interest in the real life sport or your skill level, Desert Island Fishing is a great game. You'll surely lose hours in the name of becoming the best fisherman to ever exist, both in large chunks and small breaks. Desert Island Fishing is great for any sort of play session, whether you're on the couch or the bus. If you've been looking for a slightly quirky game with a good amount of depth and complexity, definitely do yourself a favor and try out Desert Island Fishing.
Reviewed by Matt