Unlike most sports, fishing is passive. Fishermen will spend hours sitting by a lake or on a boat, waiting in silence in the hopes that a big catch will grace their fishing line with its presence. This creates a unique problem for game developers to solve: how can this activity be translated into an enjoyable video game experience, without compromising the passive nature of fishing?

Fishing Sim World is the gaming industry's latest attempt to answer that question, and in many ways, it does so excellently. However, it's not very impressive on the graphics front, and in a game where you spend time doing nothing but staring at things, that's a problem.

You versus nature

Fishing Sim World starts you off in a body of water, so the first thing you'll need to do is drive your boat around until you find an optimal spot for fishing; depending on the type of fish you're looking for, it's important to keep an eye on things below the water, such as coral. These have an influence on the type of fish that you'll find there.

Once you have a spot picked, the next step is to put some bait on your fishing line and then cast it. This is where the passive part of fishing kicks in, as you'll be waiting for several minutes while the local bass and carp eye your bait. Sometimes, you won't get anything at all and will have to recast, but if you're lucky, a fish will bite. At that point, you have to tug the line in order to get your hook to catch in the mouth of the fish.

This is where things get exciting. As the fish reacts to being impaled in the lips and starts to pull, you have to carefully but strongly pull back, using a combination of different angles and levels of tension on your fishing line. If you're careless, the fish may slip away and you'll lose your opportunity, but playing smart rewards you with a clean, satisfying catch.

The moments of actually catching fish break up the stretches of calm monotony perfectly. While it's true that in real life you would be waiting a lot longer for a fish to bite, the developers understood that realistic wait times would have been a bad idea for a game and instead found a happy middle ground.

Average graphics don't impress

Between catches, you'll be spending all of your time silently eyeing your surroundings as you wait for a fish to take the bait. This is where Fishing Sim World needed to be on point with it's visuals, but unfortunately, they're rather average. They're definitely not bad — the lighting is actually quite good — but the mediocre textures and lack of good color variety create an atmosphere that gets boring to look at quickly.

Should you buy Fishing Sim World?

Despite the unimpressive graphics, Fishing Sim World is definitely a game you should get if you like simulators and want to see what a simulated fishing experience is like. Personally it's not really my thing, but I can definitely see people who do like these types of games getting... hooked on it.

Pros:

  • Is good fun, despite the passive nature.
  • Accurately replicates the feel of fishing.

Cons:

  • Average visuals.

4 out of 5

Fishing Sim World is available on Xbox One for $39.99.

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