Sunday 27 March 2016

Virtual Fishing (Virtual Boy review)

Developer: Pack-in-Video Co. Ltd.
Publisher: Pack-in-Video Co. Ltd.
Released: 1995

Virtual Fishing is a sports game that was only released in Japan.

There's three modes including Tournament where you compete in seven cups. Each lasts for eight minutes and the final rankings are based on the total length of your catches. Starting on the Casting screen you throw bait, move your rod around and then press the R trigger once it bends to hook fish. Learning the exact timing is crucial as some fish put up more of a fight than others. For example, as soon as Char start pulling you should immediately try to hook it; with Catfish on the other hand, you must wait for the rod to bend and then straighten again. Figuring out these methods is fun and keeps the action feeling fresh. If you're successful you move onto the Underwater screen which requires you to wait until the fish tires before reeling it in, otherwise your line will break. It's a simple mini-game that gets quite intense in later tournaments, especially when you only have a few seconds left to bring it to the surface. Once you're accustomed to the different types of fish and how to reel them in this screen is a breeze; the hardest part is the final tournament due to the gigantic Salmoniformes you need to catch but with a little bit of patience they're not too challenging. The majority of the action is enjoyable but the gameplay is short and basic, with no upgrade abilities. However, you can save your progress and view previous records which adds some replayability. The 3D effect is disappointingly minimal though and the music is poor with generic tunes that repeat ad nauseam. There's also Free Mode (a practice area), as well as an unlockable Time Attack which challenges you to catch five fish within ten minutes without breaking a line. The latter takes place entirely in the Underwater screen and although it's a decent diversion it adds little to the overall experience.
Virtual Fishing is very accessible to newcomers of the sport with its simple, yet entertaining gameplay that's perfect for short gaming sessions. Where it falters is its lack of depth and modes as once you've beaten each tournament there's really no reason to stick around.

Random trivia: Although this is a Japanese exclusive, Benjamin Stevens and thunderstruck from the Planet VB forums have done an excellent English translation.

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