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Let’s Fish! Hooked On Review (Vita)

March 8, 2013 Written by Heath Hindman

The poster character of Let’s Fish! Hooked On bass fishing is wearing a band-aid on her sock. But wearing a small bandage overtop of a layer of clothing, surprisingly isn’t the dumbest thing about Let’s Fish! Hooked On.

This game works about like anyone would expect: cast, reel, jiggle, cut some slack, tighten the slack, give it more slack, tighten the slack again, slack off because you’re fishing, but don’t wear nice slacks because hey dumbass, you’re fishing.

Hooked On is definitely a kindred spirit with Hot Shots Golf, taking something incredibly boring in real life and making it much more snappy, fun, and entertaining to watch or participate in. Where Hot Shots succeeds, however, is where Hooked On fails, as the fishing in this game is actually more boring than the real-life version. It does of course have the advantage of accessibility; picking up a Vita is easier and less time consuming than getting in a motorboat or finding a dock and stringing up a bunch of rods and lures (if there is no firmware update). It also has the benefit of giving the player some rankings boards and the ability to unlock lures and junk rather than having to go to some tackle shop and buy it for real money.

But I couldn’t stop thinking about that girl with the band-aid on her sock. In awe, I tried to imitate the character. What would it be like to have a bandage overtop of my cloathing? What kind of wound could it help? Does it prevent infection? Does it stop the bleeding? Is there any flesh wound so severe a doctor would recommend that a bandage be put on top of clothing. Curious to see if I could make this happen, I covered my leg in kethcup, making sure to use Hunt’s for this. Hunt’s Ketchup: Because Why Would You Waste Perfectly Good Heinz?

Doctor Mikage didn’t let me take pictures within his office, but he was shocked to see my leg covered in so much ketchup. Apparently the ketchup as blood gag only works in cartoons (like bandages on clothing?). Doc started writing a recommendation for a mental hospital before I showed him the fishing game that aroused my curiosity. Being a pro writer on the internet has its get-out-of-loony-bin-free perks. Only after making sure I hadn’t used Heinz for something so stupid did he discard the forms. He just recommended I not play any more of such a mind-damaging game.

Not one to take a doctor’s advice, I went back to it. Few things feel as good as winning, but that feeling goes away in Let’s Fish! Hooked On, as the catch comes all too easily. Move the camera around to find the spot where the water is bubbling, cast right there, and you’re good. That’s part of what makes it more boring than real fishing — at least the real thing has suspense. Since this is a video game, you know there will always be plenty of fish swimming around, eager to bite at least one thing in your inventory. Except when they float right through it. Now and then, the big mouth bass will drift towards your lure, and then pass right through it, their own graphics overlapping those of the lure. This matches my doctor’s theory that they are ghost fish — a hypothesis he formed after watching several fish materialize out of nowhere and then vanish without even swimming away.

If this happened below the water without me seeing it, I could forgive, but if you’re going to put a camera under the lure, don’t be so lazy as to just have fish evaporate like the morning dew. A note to all young future game developers out there: when your game is way too easy, adding nonsense is not the best way to make it harder, especially in a genre trying to come close to replicating a real sport. And if you’re going to make a camera follow a fishing lure, you may as well let the player rotate it rather than force it to stay in one inconvenient spot.

I get the feeling this will appeal almost exclusively to people who are already big fans of the more serious titles in this genre, rather than reaching a broader audience the way Hot Shots Golf, ModNation Racers, or Mario’s Tennis can. Hooked On‘s included tutorial does almost nothing for players who don’t already know the deal with fishing games; it doesn’t advise tactics for certain weather conditions, it doesn’t explain what situations might be good for certain lures or rods, or anything that would be, you know, useful to someone new. And yet, you’ll still find success even when the game’s systems seem to think you shouldn’t, because you will always have success. You’re going to catch a lot of fish…easily. Too easily. Even without using any of the unlockables or special abilities, none of which add much. That said, a better idea for fishing game fans would be to wait for a better fishing game to hit Vita, or get one for a different system.

Wait a minute…even better idea. Let’s put this sock bandage thing to the ultimate test: wrap the outside of my clothing in all kinds of bandages and soak up major sympathy. BRB, I’m going to “help” tsunami victims in Northeast Japan.

Check me out up there, second from the left. I was given the lightest workload of all. Everyone saw my “injured” leg and didn’t even ask me what happened, just started carrying stuff for me and making sure I was taking plenty of breaks. First dibs on the cold breaktime sodas? Naturally the guy with the leg wound should have that, after all, he’s up here fighting the pain in order to help others. Even those who lost their houses were giving me gifts. It made me feel good because I didn’t work for it, and more so because everything that someone else owned was now mine. Remember, the only thing better than helping those in need, is making everyone else think that you really want to help those in need, but can’t.

Let’s Fish! Hooked On. She has a bandage on her sock.

3.0
  • Can be entertaining in short sessions
  • Sock bandages and the life lessons they teach us
  • Made me remember going fishing with my grandpa
  • My grandpa was kind of a badass
  • Fish materialize out of nowhere and vanish the same way. What?
  • Graphical slips such as fish swimming right through your lure
  • Boring mechanics, not even on par with other fishing games
  • Way too easy
  • Explains nothing to genre newcomers, yet its anime/goofy/moe style is clearly targeting genre newcomers
  • Gets terribly boring, quickly
  • Lame camera
  • Just not very much there, even as a budget title