I’ve never played a fishing-based video game prior to the rather ingeniously designed Fishing Resort, available for the Nintendo Wii. I was curious to give it a try because the concept really didn’t seem that suited for the medium. Initially my worst fears appeared to be confirmed during an excessively chatty and dull tutorial at the outset of the game. Who wants to stand on a pier and, after casting their line, wait interminably for a bite? Luckily, Fishing Resort involves considerably more than that. No, it’s not a terribly exciting game. Although very relaxing in pace, you can use your character to explore a varied island resort and keep yourself busy with fishing and other tasks.
The best thing about Fishing Resort is the ability to do pretty much whatever you want, whenever you want. After designing your character (the options are rather limited), you arrive at the resort after the aforementioned tutorial, promptly checking into a hotel. From there on, you can roam the island freely. Money is earned in the form of credits (the game provides many easy opportunities early on to build up a supply) which can be spent on different rods, tackle, and bait. Fishing is quite easy to get the hang of and there is no shortage of areas to cast your line. You can fish off a pier or even wade right out into the surf. In other areas of the island you can take a boat out on the river. In one hand you hold the Wii remote and in the other you use the nunchuk for a reel.
It can get frustrating waiting for a bite, which also depends upon using the proper gear. Once you get a bite, you can easily lose the fish if it’s too big for the rod you’re using. An icon onscreen will guide you which way to tilt the Wii remote, which corresponds with the direction in which the fish is pulling. As a simulation of the fishing experience it is relatively realistic.
You’ll want to spend your credits wisely, stocking up on a variety of tackle and bait so you’re prepared for any situation. There are very many different kinds of fish in these waters, ranging from puny to quite large. The larger ones are, of course, much tougher to reel in and will result in a much higher credit payoff back at the hotel.
If you tire of fishing, there are little missions that can be taken on. These are mostly innocuous, such as alerting a shop owner that his employee is locked out of the store. Others are a little more substantial, such as helping locate a lost child.
At the end of the day, you must return to the hotel to sleep for the night. This seemed at first like a major inconvenience. But then I realized it puts a time limit on in-progress mini-missions. In other words, if you haven’t gotten the lowdown on a shark sighting by the time the sun goes down, you’re going back to the hotel (this happens automatically) without payment.
Speaking of the hotels, there are more than one located throughout the island. Each hotel has a bulletin board with advertisements for a number of different expeditions, all of which keep the game from stagnating as well as build up your spendable credits. The more you can spend, the better the gear will be. For a nominal fee your travel around the island can be greatly aided by the rental of a bike or raft.
Fishing Resort is actually perfect for a very casual gamer who doesn’t want to invest a significant amount of time playing through a complicated storyline. It is a good starting point for older folks, such as senior citizens, who have never tried modern video games but are curious. The game can be easily enjoyed even when played for short periods of time. The gameplay is pretty straightforward and intuitive. You can even doze off while waiting for a bite, just like when fishing for real. Fishing Resort is also available as a package with a special fishing controller included, but I haven’t used it.
Fishing Resort is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB.