By: Matthew Striplen
In the latest entry in the Family series by Arc System Works comes Family Fishing, a cute game of a family’s outing to catch fish. The main objective in Family Fishing is, drum roll please, to catch fish! Although several game modes exist, all feature the same basic mechanics.
Before the angling begins, players need to choose a character/family member. Each one uses different equipment and has a unique special ability, so be sure to pick one that complements your play style.
Once all that is set up, it’s time to fish! Players face off against a different family member to try and earn the most points. The bigger the fish, the more points it’s worth, which means the one who catches the most may not win the competition.
When the five-minute time limit nears completion, a “Boss” will appear. The Boss is much larger than anything else in the pond, and it’s much harder to catch. However, catching the boss instantly ends the game, which is generally a good thing, considering how many points it is worth.
Catching a fish requires a lure, but not all fish will go for the same type. There’s a lure for each size class of fish: small, medium, large and boss. There’s also the Chaos Lure that can hook anything, but the catch rate is significantly lower than the rest.
Lures and other equipment can only be purchased mid level in the shop. Additional lures, rods and items can be purchased with points you’ve already earned from your catch. There are tons of options when it comes to rods and items, too. Items are single use, but they can give the player plenty of advantages, like dealing damage to fish or guaranteeing the next hook.
Once you’ve hooked a fish, the real battle begins. In an effort to escape, the fish will quickly swim from side to side, releasing “aura blasts” as it does. Taking a hit from these blasts reduces the HP of your fishing rod. When the HP runs out, your rod breaks and you lose the fish.
To combat these blasts, players must pull in the same direction the fish is swimming. This releases your own aura blasts, which either cancel out the fish’s attack or reduces the fish’s HP. Reeling in a fish does not require you depleting its HP, but if you do so, the fish goes limp and you’re free to reel it in without resistance.
Be careful when reeling fish, however, as this makes them angry. If you make them angry enough, they’ll unleash extra powerful blasts that deal heavy damage to the rod.
Gameplay is divided up into three basic modes: Campaign, Free Battle and Survival. Campaign pits you against the rest of the family in a predetermined order. Free Battles lets you pick any stage, opponent and difficulty level, and Survival challenges players to win as many times in a row as possible. There’s also a quick start function, which randomly picks a player, opponent and stage.
On the technical side of things, the controls are super simple and easy to use. Even the youngest gamers shouldn’t have too much trouble becoming a master angler. There aren’t too many music tracks, but the included songs are cute and catchy. Although Family Fishing won’t win any awards for graphical achievement, it certainly doesn’t detract from the experience.
Family Fishing is an absolutely adorable little game. Although it’s much less complicated than other fishing simulators, it still provides plenty of charm and fun. Little ones are sure to fall in love with its cuteness and addictive gameplay. If you’re looking something short and sweet, Family Fishing is just that.