Cocoto Fishing Master
Developer: Neko Entertainment
Release Date: 06/17/08
System: Wii (WiiWare)
What’s more fun than playing Cocoto Fishing Master? Anything!
Editor’s Note. We try really hard to keep our language and content to match the rating of the game. However, occasionally there will be a time when a reviewer needs to let it all out for cathartic reasons. This is one of those times. As such please be aware that although this review is for an E rated game, this review is decidedly M.
In its latest attempt to separate your money from your wallet, Nintendo recently launched it’s WiiWare service: Nintendo’s answer to Playstation Network and Xbox Live Arcade downloadable games. I’ve always been a large supporter of this type of downloadable content since it offers games for a good price, and sometimes games with simple concepts are better than games with huge budgets. I mean Tetris is just putting blocks together and it’s still one of the best ways to waste your time.
So I chose to support this service by picking up Cocoto Fishing Master. While I’m not a person who goes fishing very much, I love fishing video games…at least when they are well done. In between the rush of trying to save a princess and the stress of trying to save the universe in other games, it’s nice to have a game that’s just relaxing.
Cocoto Fishing Master is brought to us by Developers Neko Entertainment, who also developed Legend of Dragon and Crazy Frog Racer. That should’ve been the first warning sign. It appears that Cocoto is the name of a cartoon demon who also appears to be something of a mascot for Neko Entertainment as there are multiple Cocoto titles, with names such as Cocoto Platform Jumper and Cocoto Kart Racer. The titles of the previous Cocoto games should’ve been the second warning sign.
But no, I went ahead and downloaded the goddamn game anyway.
When the game first loads, the graphics look pretty impressive. It’s as if this relatively cheap downloadable title could’ve been a Gamecube game. The game starts of with some random bullshit story about why Cocoto is fishing that has to deal with something he was guarding, a fish god, and some other crap I honestly couldn’t even pretend to care about.
Listen up, it’s a fishing game. There’s no need for some grand epic story about Elder Gods or demons unless your fishing for Cthulhu, and if you’re fishing for Cthulhu you’re fucked anyway. The only story a fishing game needs is that the main character wants to catch some goddamn fish, okay? Nothing else. When you accidentally hit a homeless guy with your car do you put it in reverse and drive over him again? No. You drive away as fast as you can because anything else is overkill. Same thing goes with adding an epic tale to a fishing game. No one cares. Whoever wrote this drivel, you’re not J.K. Rowling, Cocoto isn’t Harry Potter, and all of your friends secretly hate you.
Thankfully, like the paragraph I just wrote, the story parts are skippable (except boss battles).
Like I said though, once you turn the game on it looks pretty nice. The graphics are done through cell shading and although it’s not on par with something like Wind Waker, for a downloadable title I was pretty impressed. Until I played it for awhile.
There’s a major problem with the art design for this game. Everything from Cocoto, to the other characters, to the bosses, to the fish, to even the bait, EVERYTHING in the game looks aesthetically like hot street trash. Cocoto the cartoon demon is cross-eyed and looks like if he had to do something complex, like say tie his shoes, his head might explode like something straight out of that movie Scanners. The fairy who aids him seems to be missing some frames of animation or something because she jerks around like a victim of Parkinson’s disease, and the bait and fish all have these bulging eyes and goofy expressions that make me wonder what the hell is in the water.
Proof of fish incest, though this is from the PS2 version of the game which I’m sure is equally as bad
Even the sound effects in this game are bad. The waves sound fine but everything else is just kind of annoying. There is no speech for the characters. Instead there are text boxes with gunts and groans that are used instead to convey the emotion that the character is feeling. When you reel your line in without catching a fish, Cocoto will make the same disappointed grunting sounds that you’d expect a cross eyed demon who is likely the descendant of an inbred family to make. The only good thing about the sound effects is that there aren’t many of them. The ones that are there are repetitive and annoying but that’s why the Mute button was invented in the first place.
But hey, a game that revolved around fishing who cares about how it looks or how it sounds, it’s all about catching fish right? How hard could it be to screw up catching fish?
The game starts you off right away in a row boat with a couple different kinds of bait and a rod. One of the first things you’ll notice is the speed of the rowboat. Ever play Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker in the sailboat and thought to yourself, man this sailboat is going awfully fast? You’re in luck! The rowboat in Cocoto Fishing Master moves at the speed of a snail, if that snail was 90 years old with a back condition that prevented it from moving quickly. There are places to row to like the place to sell your fish or the place to buy rods and bait, and so on. Of course, they’re not right next to each other. They’re not placed far away either, except it feels like they’re a huge distance apart when your top speed is 2 miles per hour.
To fish you hit the A button and hold the remote upwards, then release the button as you swing the remote forward. Just like a real fishing rod! Then you’ll see your bait under the water (or on top) and the fishes nearby. When one is interested, they’ll get this orgasmic expression on their face and race towards the bait. This starts an easy mini game where you keep the bait in front of the fish trying to fill an interest meter. Different fish have different patterns so you have to pay attention. Once the fish is interested they’ll bite.
AND THAT’S WHERE EVERYTHING GOES HORRIBLY WRONG.
Picture of the worlds greatest rowboat simulator
What is supposed to happen next is, when the fish bites you’ll yank the remote up and keep it up to hook the fish, then another mini-game starts where you use the nunchuck to reel the fish in as it fights to get away. WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS is you’ll jerk the remote back when the screen tells you to…and nothing will happen, and the fish will get away.
No matter what bait or what fish, this always happens. Make sure you’re wearing your wrist strap on for this part people because over the next twenty tries I made I got more and more pissed off, and oddly determined. I wasn’t going to let some fucking video game fish get away from me at the last second. Especially a fish that looks as if its Aunt and Mother were the same person.
So I kept trying. The more I tried, the more I swore. Eventually I had to start creating new swear words just to keep up.
Then finally – defeat. I went online to see what was wrong since the in-game instructions were no help. I’m not the only one with this problem, as it appears there is a disconnect between what is going on on-screen and the controller response. It’s very quick, but the timing on when to jerk the remote is pretty specific so the delay is enough to screw it up. However the controller rumbles at the right time, it’s just convincing your eyes and you hand to work at different times.
Someone offered the best suggestion: Close your eyes before the fish bites. And I shit you not, this actually works. Nine times out of ten, I can get the fish by closing my eyes, but I can never do it with my eyes open.
Of course this has problems of its own. Remember the mini-game to get the fish interested in the bait? Well in order to do this correctly, you have to close your eyes before the interest meter gets up to it’s highest point, because otherwise you’ll close your eyes too late. Close your eyes too early and it’s sort of hard to keep the fish interested.
Plus of course there’s the whole problem behind the fact that YOU HAVE TO CLOSE YOUR FUCKING EYES. There should never be a problem with any game where the way to fix it is to actually have to look away from the screen. This game is all about catching fish, but to catch a fish you have to close your eyes, so you spend way too much of this game with your eyes closed.
Here’s a youtube video showing what I mean:
video courtesy of Youtube user ShotMyEyeOut
Plus there’s a bunch of other small crap that bothers me. This world is covered in water and fish are jumping out of the water all the time, so why is one guy willing to pay me for the fish I catch so that he can eat them? His house is on an immense lake. He could pretty much go downstairs and stick his head in the water and open his mouth. Instead Cocoto is just supporting his laziness. Same goes for the turtle willing to sell me secrets for fish, THE WHOLE AREA IS COVERED IN WATER AND FISH. Who the hell is this turtle to keep secrets anyway? There are like 2 other characters around other than him. I know the game needs to have a currency system for the fish and a way to advance the story, but these just seem like really poor ways of going about it.
There are five bosses and over 30 fish to catch, but unless you just really have a powerful need to inflict punishment on yourself, you’ll probably not bother playing after ten minutes with this game.
Final Rating: Awful Game
Short Attention Span Summary:
DO NOT BUY THIS GAME. This is the kind of game where if it had a couple more months in development is might just be bad instead of broken. But for a fishing game to not be able to get the fishing part of it right is unforgivable. Stay away at all costs.