Sometimes I write about hardcore 90-hour RPG adventure epics like Xenoblade Chronicles X! Sometimes I write about adorable fishing games. Today’s one of the latter. If you aren’t familiar with the Family series of games, you’re…probably like most gamers. Developed by Arc System Works (yes, the fighting champs) these are irrepressibly cute sports games that debuted on WiiWare and encompass a variety of activities from tennis to bowling. In Family Fishing, your goal is to…fish. With your family. Boom, review’s over, we can all go home.
Okay, I guess I need to be a little more…in-depth. Get it? Depth? Because it’s fishing? Yeah. This is a competitive game where you compete to see who can catch the most fish in a limited time. Cast your line toward the aquatic menace, bob around waiting for a bite, then when you get one reel that sucker in while avoiding its evil line-damaging fish beams. If you need a little help, activate your super move, a character-specific technique that will allow you to blast away at your quarry or apply debuffs. Repeat until satisfied; there are a few modes in which to do this, but they all boil down to fishing for glory. Successful fishing will earn you points that can be spent on gear upgrades like rods, lures and anti-fisherman weaponry (that last one is in the interests of good sportsmanship, of course.)
This is a pretty goofy game, if that wasn’t clear, and it doesn’t really match what you might expect from a fishing game at all. It’s almost like a fighting game; you’ll need to determine a balance between light, fast combos (smaller fish, which are easier to catch but earn fewer points) and heavily damaging, risky attacks (large fish, which offer tons of points but are harder to reel in). The lack of multiplayer hurts Family Fishing a bit as a result, since you can’t practice your fish footsies or perform any carp cross-ups against another angler.
Aksys wasn’t trying to make the next genre-shattering 3DS masterpiece here. Family Fishing isn’t going to move any systems. The game’s presentation reflects this; it’s cute and endearing to nobody’s great surprise while not pushing the 3DS. Likewise, the sound and music are on par with what you’d expect from this kind of game. The developers went for a sort of gothic feel, with lots of orchestral pipes…wait, no, that’s Castlevania. Family Fishing just sounds cute. REALLY cute.
What is there to say about Family Fishing? It’s a cute fishing game with a competitive twist that should captivate casual fans of lures and casting. More dedicated anglers should look into a more detailed fishing sim; I’d name several if I had any idea what a better fishing sim was these days. Ocarina of Time had pretty good fishing, I guess. So did Breath of Fire 3. When you’re done with Family Fishing, maybe check those out.