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Ace Fishing: Paradise Blue / Wild Catch

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad

Catch it

Product: Ace Fishing: Paradise Blue | Developer: Com2uS | Publisher: Com2uS | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action, Arcade, Sports | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0.6
Ace Fishing: Paradise Blue iPhone, thumbnail 1
My dad is an angler, but I've never quite seen the appeal of the sport. For him it must be a chance to compose his thoughts and clear his head in a serene environment. For me, it's a fiddly exercise in inefficient hunting, which entails getting up at 4AM to murder animals.

But fishing in video games has always been appealing to me. I've spend hours doing it in Wild World and New Leaf, there was some Game Boy fishing RPG I was quite fond of, and I've tried every one I've come across out of piscine curiosity.

How does this free-to-play effort stack up against the others I've tried? Find out with me as I play the game for a week and report back my findings.

First impressions

Your guide through the game is Rachel. She's an enthusiastic young lady with a penchant for salmon, sunfish, and short shorts. Rachel teaches you the basics of fishing, and she's joined by an old geezer named Steve who introduces himself by sneaking up behind you, offering a few words of encouragement, and then swanning off with your catches.

Even this early into the game, Ace Fishing: Paradise Blue appears to be walking a fine line between the detail of a true fishing sim, such as Super Black Bass 3D, and something much faster, like Sega Bass Fishing.

You use a swing-o-meter to cast your line, and when a fish bites, you tap and hold the rod to begin reeling it in. When the fish begins to struggle - indicated by a red icon above its position in the water - you give it some slack by releasing your finger. If you don't, your tension meter fills and the line breaks.

However, if you flirt with the red area of this tension meter, or complete a full spin of the reel, you'll build up another meter entirely just below that which indicates Strength. Fill this, and you can perform a special move with a swipe up the screen that drags the fish much closer to the shore (and your net, lying in wait).

There are also moments when your prey will leap into the air, and should you swipe in the direction indicated on the screen you'll Yank them, which also assists you in your quest for carp.

I'm really rather impressed by Ace Fishing: Paradise Blue thus far.

Day 3: The need for pumpkinseed

Ace Fishing's gameplay is simple, but this simplicity ties in nicely with its more compulsive aspects.

IAPs explained
There are loads of things you can buy in Ace Fishing, but you don't need to spend a lot of money to enjoy the game. Gold is £1.49 ($1.99) for 41,000, Cash is £1.49 ($1.99) for 19.

Here's a classic example if you do want to splash some cash: you get given the Glass Spinning X-2 Rod, and can upgrade it with soft currency of Gold, or the premium currency of Cash. If you do so with Cash the rod may be imbued with special properties as well as increased strength, but if you do it with Gold there's no bonus and the upgrade may fail.

There are also Boosters to buy and equip, which confer bonuses when you use them, such as extra XP, increased damage to fish, and so on. They're used up each time you cast, so be thrifty with them.
To say that I'm hooked would be to inflict a truly painful pun on the pages of the internet, but that word does sum up my feelings towards Paradise Blue quite nicely.

I'm catching loads of different types of fish at the moment, and I'm slowly working my way through the areas of the single-player story. The desire to catch each species, and larger versions of the fish I've already seen, keeps me checking back in with the game whenever I get a spare moment.

The single-tap controls and rapid load times ensure that the process of dipping in and out is as easy as possible. I'm constantly being "reeled" back in, so to speak.

The longer you spend with Ace Fishing, the more you'll notice the landscapes changing as you're fishing, and the subtler additions Com2uS has included that further emphasise that this is a very high quality production. Each addition to your rod and reel, and each change to your equipment, is reflected on-screen.

This ensures that each new purchase to improve your tackle doesn't just feel like a stat boost but an actual purchase that you can see.

Anything you purchase does need maintaining, ir it will break or become unusable until repaired. This aspect had me worried at first, as I dislike purchasing items in F2P games only to have them taken away from me.

But I haven't spent money on anything that isn't repairable so far, and so the only cost to me has been a small amount of soft currency.

Compulsive gameplay and an ethical F2P model? I think we may be onto a winner here.

Day 7: Reel good

Progress in Ace Fishing has slowed, and that's mostly down to the game's single-player structure that requires you to upgrade your equipment each time you reach a new area.

Failing to do so will ensure that every other fish you hook ends up fighting you off with ease and escaping your net. This means that you'll be engaging in a fair amount of grind - unless you want to spend real money of course.

But that does fit in well with the whole fishing motif: as an angler you spend a lot of time revisiting the same spots, perfecting your fishing technique, and gradually improving your equipment as your interest in the pastime increases.

The gameplay fits in well with the theme, too: I find that I'm now feathering my button presses so that I keep the tension meter high. This means that I'm constantly adding to my Strength, but it's also quite risky because my line might snap at any moment.

For an activity that sounds simple and boring, it's actually rather exciting. Much like fishing, I presume.

There are achievements to unlock, leaderboards to top, tournaments to participate in, and fish tanks to fill, and these all keep your interest levels high. And there's nothing quite like a pretty water engine and / or hardcore lounge music to keep me coming back to a game, both of which Ace Fishing has in abundance.

The fishing here is accessible and fun, and its constant sense of steady progress and reward is extremely satisfying. Tie this in with great presentation and plenty of longevity, and you've got another top release from Com2uS.

How are you getting on with the game? You can tell us and the rest of the PG community about your experiences by leaving a comment in the box below. Click here to learn about our free-to-play review policy.
Ace Fishing: Paradise Blue / Wild Catch
Reviewer photo
Peter Willington | 11 April 2014
Ace Fishing is, as its name suggests, ace, regardless of whether you're interested in fishing
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