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Fishing Master World Tour

Score: 83%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Hudson Soft
Developer: Hudson Soft
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1, 2 - 4
Genre: Sports (Fishing)/ Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

If you are an avid outsdoorman looking for a realistic fishing simulator that accurately recreates in minute detail the local environments, you may want to look somewhere other than Fishing Master: World Tour. For the folks just looking for a little light-hearted, yet surprisingly addictive gameplay revolving around the sport of fishing, this is definitely a game for you. This game does not attempt to mimic reality as other games of the genre do, but instead takes the fun elements of fishing and combines them with bright, lively characters and vividly colored environments. The characters all share just a touch of the Japanese animation feel without being too doe-eyed or over-the-top unnatural. Instead of detailed recreations of bayous, rivers and lakes, the locales in the game are richly animated, but still feature well-known and historic landmarks. Take a day to fish under the Golden Gate Bridge, throw a line off the back of the boat while looking out over Diamondhead, even pull up a few rubber tires while fishing the rivers of Detroit. The animations of the actual fishing are well done, with fish that often give quite a fight before being hauled in by the aspiring angler. The graphical user-interface (UI) shows all the pertinent information without being obnoxious or cumbersome. All in all, the sacrifice of realism for flair and fun is handled exceedingly well.

Sound effects and background music do a wonderful job of complimenting the graphics in the game. The sound of the line being cast, the splash of the bait hitting the water, the fight as the fish on the line breaks the surface and the roar of the boat's motor are all present. There is background music which differs depending on which area of the world you are currently visiting. Also, differing music plays depending on the size of the fish on the line, so it is easy to identify if you've hooked a whopper. There are some ambient sounds present, but whether or not they added to the overall experience is likely an individual preference.


Fishing Master: World Tour follows a familiar paradigm. Select from one of several characters available, choose and name your pet (from a cat or dog), then set out to become a Fishing Master. You are helped along by a mysterious, but not ominous, benefactor who sets you up with a boat and captain who will take you wherever you wish to go. There are around 10 regions in the game, however you start out with access to only Japan, and shortly thereafter, North America. Others are accessed by completing quests or catching enough fish to increase your title.

As the title indicates, the ultimate goal is to become a Fishing Master. To do this, you will have to catch a lot of fish. Some 200 varieties of fish exist in the game, many of them catchable in multiple regions. Many of the fish are representative of real-world counterparts, but there are also quite a few fantastical creations. Most of these are either special fish or boss fish in the differing locales. Catching them will reward the player with more points than the normal varieties. Points are the monetary unit in the game and are used to purchase bait and rods from the various shops, although from what I've seen during my playing, the inventory of all the shops is the same. More advanced rods and lures/bait become available as the player progresses.

The storyline can be advanced not only by fishing, fishing and more fishing, but also by completing quests and competing in tournaments. There are several tournaments available, with the winning condition normally consisting of catching the largest of a particular species of fish. Quests similarly require that the player land a pre-determined type or number of fish. When fishing for particular fish, the player has to take into account the rod, the bait and the season. Some fish are extremely finicky it turns out, and can only be caught by having the right combination of rod, bait and season. You will get periodic tips via text messages on your cell phone regarding what type of bait works best and which fish bite when, but never fear to do a little creative research on your own, as you never know what will come up on the end of your line. The tips can be accessed anytime through the Menu.

Main story aside, what would a fishing game be without multiplayer? Well, considering most fishing games I've played do not include multiplayer, I'd have to answer that it would be something new. Match Mode is designed for 2-4 players. The rules are simple and set up at the beginning. Choose one of five areas from the main game, choose a time limit, victory conditions and a few other variables, then let the bait-slinging begin. This feature, while not very in-depth, was a fun distraction that lent an enjoyable competitiveness to an otherwise single-player adventure.


Fishing Master: World Tour is very easy to get into from a difficulty perspective. The most difficult part of the game will be mastering the controls. The object of the game is to catch fish, lots of fish; small fish, big fish, monster fish. To accomplish this, the player must first equip him/herself with a rod and bait, then choose where to fish. Once at the chosen location, the actual gameplay starts. To catch fish, one has to wet a line. To do this, the player uses the Wii-mote much like the rod, flipping the wrist backwards then forwards in a casting motion. Once the bait is in the water, the wait for a bite begins. When a fish does decide to bite, a message is flashed on the screen and the Wii-mote vibrates. Quickly jerking the Wii-mote upward will "set the hook."

Setting the hook is only half the fun, as now the angler must land the fish by getting it all the way to shore or to the boat. Some fish are easy and do not put up much of a fight, but most will try their hardest to stay in the water and escape with the bait. To prevent this from happening, the line must be carefully reeled in. Pull too hard and the line will break, but give too much slack and the fish will escape with the bait. Reeling in the fish requires the use of both the Nunchuk and Wii-mote controllers. Using the Nunchuk as the reel, the player can either spin it to mimic the motion of actually reeling in a fish, pull down on the thumbstick to retract the line or use the shoulder buttons to reel in faster or slower. I personally found the use of the thumbstick best suited my play style, but this will be something of a personal preference to be decided individually. As the player reels in the fish, a meter will display whether the line is close to breaking or if it is getting too slack. Keeping the right tension is key. If the fish pulls too far to the left or right, a combo indicator will appear on-screen. At this point, jerking the Wii-mote (rod) the opposite direction will temporarily stun the fish, allowing some line to be taken up. Hit these combos in succession to score bonus points.

In most cases, getting the fish to the shore or boat's edge will end the fight and your fish will be deposited in the icebox. On those occasions where the player is lucky enough to hook a whopper, or really large fish, a small mini-game takes place before finally landing the fish. Once the shore is reached, a meter will appear on-screen. The meter can be filled by quickly shaking the Wii-mote up and down. Fill the meter before the time expires and you land the big one. Fail and the fish escapes, taking your bait with it. Losing fish will happen fairly often, and for the most part it doesn't matter too much as most of the bait that you lose is relatively inexpensive. However, some of the bigger and harder to land fish require special bait, most of which is rather expensive, so failing to land one of these can become quite costly if it happens too often.

Game Mechanics:

Other than the actual mechanics of fishing, Fishing Master: World Tour has a pretty regimented breakdown. Each day begins with you waking up and greeting the captain of the boat, who then asks you where you would like to go today. Magically, it seems that you can get anywhere in the world almost instantly, once you have unlocked the region, of course. Once you've chosen a region, you then have to choose a particular fishing area. Some regions have more sites than others to choose from and all regions have a shop for buying rods and bait. Once you have chosen the area, your fishing begins. A day begins at 7:00am and goes until 5:00pm, with roughly one minute passing per second. You can return to the boat before choosing a specific area if you wish to travel to a new location without losing a day, however, once you have chosen an area and a minute has passed, if you return to the boat, your day will end. You can, however, move between areas within a region or visit a shop within the same day.

All of this becomes important because some fish only bite during certain seasons and at certain times of the day. If you are after a particular fish, pay attention to your text messages to see if it is available only during a particular season. Also, some areas are not available during certain seasons. Seasons last for three fishing days, so each twelve fishing days is equivalent to a year. However, as your character does not age, fear not the reaper because of the passing of time.

For the collectors and completionists among players, there are journals which track the types of fish caught as well as data on lengths and weights. Each area has a set number of fish types available to the angler. The journals are broken down regionally, so even if a particular fish is caught in one area, it may still need to be landed in another before that area is completed. Completed areas will have gold stars flashing above them on the main map. Along with the journals, there is also a status page which tracks the number of fish caught, titles earned, quests completed and other player details. Collection and completion addicts beware, you could be in for a long haul trying to land all types of fish in all areas of the world. Speaking of the world, there is also an online leaderboard, where players can see how their whoppers stack up to other players around the world.

In the end, what Fishing Master: World Tour lacks in realism is more than made up for in gameplay and depth. It is a fun game that will entertain for a long time, and though there is some repetitiveness in the game mechanics, the fresh environments and interesting variety of fish keep the game from quickly becoming a back-of-the-shelf title.

-The Mung Bard, GameVortex Communications
AKA Buddy Ethridge

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