Many people enjoy the peaceful calm that goes hand in hand with a long morning of fishing. Others find it boring to the point of pain. But what if your fishing session included narwhals, chainsaw fishing lures, and loads upon loads of guns? Welcome to Ridiculous Fishing from Vlambeer, better known for the excellent Super Crate Box. There is a lot of clone controversy surrounding this game, but more on that later. What needs to be made perfectly clear right from the first cast is that this game is ridiculously well made.
Based on an old Flash game from Vlambeer called Radical Fishing, Ridiculous Fishing is played in three phases. The first phase has you dodging fish by tilting your device as your lure sinks further and further down into the murky depths. The second phase, once you’ve caught a fish, is to catch as many as possible on your way back up, also via tilting. All types of jellyfish are bad though, and actually deduct money from your score. The final phase has you blasting everything you’ve caught into pieces with oversized firearms for money.
That money is traded in the store for longer fishing line, better guns, eventually reaching Gattling Guns, Bazookas, and an orbital ‘Hammer of Dawn’ style laser, plus all sorts of helpful doodads, such as a toaster and hair dryer that act as second and third tries, frying the first fish you touch, or special clothing that lets you sell fish for more money. The upgrades are well paced and almost all of them feel awesome to unlock.
As you unlock new locations to fish in, you soon learn that there are plenty of secret fish to find, with a few hints from the Fish-o-pedia. There’s even something of a story thanks to a funny fake Twitter called Byrdr, featuring tweets from people as well as birds, often in response to a new rare fish you’ve caught or item you’ve bought. There is also a pretty fantastic “ending,” so to speak, though it’s really just the beginning. Heck, some fishing spots even have legitimate boss fights of sorts.
Now, many of you watching this review are probably thinking this looks an awful lot like Ninja Fishing from Gamenauts, but rest assured that not only did Radical Fishing come first, both games are infinitely better than Ninja Fishing, and I actually liked Ninja Fishing. While Ninja Fishing was about pushing micro transactions and keeping you playing forever, Vlambeer’s creation doesn’t even offer micro transactions, making you earn every upgrade, but it’s designed in such a way that this is not frustrating at all. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Plus it’s possible to complete the game by catching every fish in the Fish-o-pedia. Of course, once you’ve done that, there are Game Center leaderboards for the endless level.
The old Flash game was fun, but Vlambeer asked around for some expert help to make this game all it could be, enlisting the aid of Zach Gage, of SpellTower fame, and Greg Wholwhend of Mikengreg, also behind the art for Hundreds, for the artwork. The superb soundtrack came from Super Crate Box alum Eirik Suhrke, who previously provided the tunes for Spelunky and Hotline Miami. Expectedly so, the polished design is beyond addicting, and the angular, vibrant art style is always fantastic to look at, no matter what color scheme is currently on screen. The unique behaviors of various fish add a lot of nuance to an otherwise straightforward game. Basically, the art lures you in, the gameplay hooks you, and the upgrades and everything else reels you to your bullet riddled demise. Everything is silly and over the top in the service of pure, ridiculous fun, and I can’t recommend this game enough. Ridiculous Fishing is iOS Universal and available for three dollars at the time of this review.