Fishing – man’s way of taking time-out from the madness of everyday life, perched on the side of a bank or in a boat, contemplating on life whilst catching carp. I have to say, fishing isn’t my preferred go-to sport, so jumping into any fishing game fails to fill me with any excitement. But alas, review I must, and in the case of Real VR Fishing, this will be my second fishing game experience in VR.
Jumping into Real VR Fishing for the first time, you’re welcomed into a cosy lakeside cabin, full of sparse furniture, a giant TV looking display (that the sofa seems to back itself on to) and a fish tank that’s even bigger than the TV. You will soon fill that tank with all the prize winning catch you’ll collect along the way, but first we have to learn the wonderful ways of catching the slippery fish fiends. To the tutorial we go!
Clicking through the various prompts on the giant display in the cabin, you soon learn the basics of casting the line, hooking fish, reeling them in, looking after your rod (Giggity), and catching them. That’s the general basics of the game, and any fishing game to be honest. What Real VR Fishing does differently is to make it more of a simulation than an arcade affair. So prepare your waders and
Up to 15 fishing locations around South Korea await you, but you’ll have to earn the right to fish there, by collecting EXP and earning money to purchase better rods, reels and lures to catch bigger and better fish to fast track you to newer locations. I think if all locations were unlocked I would have had my fill of the game very early on, so locking each location away, although frustrating at first, does lengthen the game’s longevity and retention.
To unlock each new location was my main draw in this game, as each location has been carefully recreated, and compared to the alternative fishing title on the Oculus Quest – Bait – it’s a lot more realistic, which is of no surprise given the game’s title. But to sit on the banks overlooking photorealistic cities and forests, as water laps below your feet, it’s very serene and calming – a little like real-life fishing I would expect.
With your fishing shades placed on your face, you can see all the catchable fish that are swimming in the water ahead of you, like some-kind of predator alien. It would have felt more of a game if you didn’t see them and you had some underwater sonar to hunt their location, or perhaps ripples on the water surface, but alien technology will make it much easier to hunt for your first catch and earn that EXP.
Casting the line is as simple as doing a casting motion and letting go of the trigger button to send out your line. Casting does feel pretty linear. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a physics-based line that’s effected by the world, in a fishing game, so as long as your direction and power is right, you’ll send the line exactly where you want it. Slowly reeling the line in you will soon see which fish is taking the bait as they make a bee-line to your swimming lure.
Once a fish is hooked it is time to reel them in. This is the fun bit. Smaller and easier fish rarely put up a fight and you can just real them in. But it is the bigger or rare fish that give the bigger money and EXP rewards. These require a bit more effort to real them in, at times a good minute of fighting them.
Careful attention to the line strength is required here, in case it snaps and you lose the fish, so noting its colour is crucial as you reel in. If it turns red you have to stop reeling, let the fish go a little to recover the line and then real them in again. Soon they get tried and you can bring them in closer until they are right by your feet.
Giving a tug on the line at this point brings your catch out of the water. With your catch dangling in front of you it is your choice to either send it back out into the water and collect EXP or to keep it and earn money to spend on better rods and reel upgrades. With my quest to earn more locations I was sending each fish back into the water like some kind of fishing saint, muttering the words, “I must unlock the next location by now.”
With enough EXP you begin to unlock new locations. These vary from sitting on the shoreline of a river to being sat on a boat on a lake. Each location has been well put together with real imagery blending well with the 3d generated water below you and lighting fits in with your hands and the rod you’re holding, which also looks great by the way. Each location also has a night mode to unlock too. So you can fish away whilst the cityscape lights up ahead of you and random fireworks explode nearby – hopefully not scaring the fish away!
Back in the cabin you can browse and purchase additional rods, reels and lures with your earned money. Helpful tips and meters alongside each upgrade teach you about a rod’s distance, strength of line and what kind of fish they can catch. This is also illustrated on the water too, depending on the lure you have selected, green fish will work with the equipped lure, whilst yellow might be a challenge and fish that are outlined as orange or red, you might want to swap lures for something that will attract them.
Filling your fish tank may be another draw to the game’s longevity. You can only add a single fish into the tank after you have caught at least five of them. If there is a rare fish caught, you only need one to add them to your tank. Once added they aimlessly swim around, as fish do, in the huge tank in your cabin. You can add backgrounds and items in the tank by purchasing them with your earned credit in the shop. It would have been nice if locations also added tank items or backgrounds for free.
After you’ve unlocked the 15 locations, and reals, rods and lures along the way, you have pretty much had your fill of this game. You can continue to fill your fish tank with particular types of fish by revisiting locations and catching them or wait for the upcoming DLC that has been promised in the game’s description. Additional world locations will also be coming via DLC as well as multiplayer co-op and PvP mode – yet we are a month into this game’s release and we’ve yet to see any news of this content.
At £14.99 on the Oculus Quest Store, Real VR Fishing has a decent level of content and replayability to justify the price. You really do need to be a fishing fan though to really appreciate this game. It a stationary game, so that ticks the box for anyone looking for a stationary experience too. If you are a fishing fanatic, have the patience and the drive to fish for your life to earn enough EXP and credits to beat the game, then you can’t go wrong with Real VR Fishing.