Developer: Gameloft
Price: $4.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Fishermen should be excited, but the rest of us? Okay. Yes. The rest of us should be excited too. Never thought I’d be saying that about a fishing game, yeesh.

Fishing Kings HD represents possibly the most comprehensive and well done title within the genre for the iOS platform. There’s three selectable characters, a bevy of upgradeable equipment, a ton of species to fish and several locations to do the fishing in. For sheer variety and longevity, Fishing Kings HD should be mounted over anyone’s mantle.

On the iPad especially, the game looks great. The water is well done, the scenery is believable and the fish themselves are the highlight. The fishing characters are a bit blocky to be completely passable, but they’re only present during pre-cast and measuring moments.

Sparing that, the only major hiccup where presentation is concerned comes from the sometimes dodgey fish models. When the lure has been cast, players are given a view of the lure in the water to attract fish. When trying to find a specific fish to catch, players may take some time to study the environment. That gives the game a chance to get weird. Fish start popping in and out of the space, swimming straight through rocks and walls and completely passing through other fish. The game’s inability to properly portray a collision for the fish robs the underwater thrill of some of its potential glory.

The gameplay is simple enough to be consistently approachable. Touch the screen to select a cast location, flick the device, reel by spinning the reel icon on the left, tug to give the line a tug and then flick the device again to catch the fish. Guess what… that’s it. And, perhaps this is the core fault of every game of this genre. The process of fishing is exceptionally formulaic. The actual catching of fish becomes extremely boring and routine pretty quickly.

Gameloft works hard to compensate this fact by giving players so much other stuff to tinker with. A PDA gives fisher-people new missions and allows them to enter new tournaments. Players will need to choose a proper lure for the fish they’re after. The customization and patient casting is the majority of the fun to be had here. Catching fish, again, becomes almost robotic. It’s everything else players do in order to catch the fish that makes Fishing Kings stand out.

Fishing fans need Fishing Kings. Simply put. For everyone else that’s every been tempted by the genre, this game marks a perfectly casual and deep entry into the pack of all that’s available. It is the best fishing game available in the App Store.

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