Super Black Bass 3D
Genre: Underwater Fighting
Publisher: Rising Star
Release Date: 4/2/13
I really don’t like fish. I don’t like the flavor or touching them, I don’t even like seeing them in an aquarium. I’m fine with underwater things staying in the water. So what’s really odd is that I love fishing games. I’ve had both good and bad experiences in the past, with Cocoto Fishing Master being the worst game I’ve played for the Wii, let alone worst fishing game I’ve played, and Fishing Resort being one of my favorite games of all time. So, having played several fishing games in the past, how does Super Black Bass 3D hold up? Read on.
When you start the game, you get a chance to create a fisherman or woman and input a name. There aren’t a lot of options here, but since you will spend very little time looking at the avatar it’s not a big deal, though it is kind of weird that the male and female avatars share the same basic face. The game runs through a brief tutorial about how to cast and catch a fish, and then you have the option of joining in a fishing tournament, free fishing or heading over to the shop.
There’s no story mode, but the tournaments are long affairs and beating all of them will take quite some time. Then, of course, there is the free fishing, which is as it sounds: no frills objective free fishing, to just try to catch fish. While I enjoyed the different objective based missions found in Fishing Resort, the way this game focuses just on the fishing is just fine.
Graphically the game is a mixed bag. The fish look good, as do the lures, and the environments are varied both above and below the water, but the environments and fishing line are both really jagged looking. It’s alright for a portable title, but considering some of the great looking 3DS games that are currently available, the graphics for Super Black Bass 3D just do not hold up to similar scrutiny. Since this is a game about catching fish, it makes sense that the fish and lures look good, however. The HUD shows the information you need to know in a clear, easy to read fashion, which becomes vastly important for when you are trying to actually catch a fish. The sound effects are only decent, but nothing really stands out.
When you hear that the game only has a couple of modes and that it only looks and sounds okay, you might think Super Black Bass 3D isn’t a very good game. That would be incorrect, because what the game does well is the fishing portion. Ignore the 3D in the title of the game, as the game barely uses the 3D feature. The effect in the game is muted, which I believe is intentional, and for that, I’m grateful, since the function of the 3DS the game does use well are the accelerometer and gyroscope, and frankly, moving the system around a lot with the 3D on is a literal headache.
Here’s how it works: you cast by holding the 3DS up and casting it forward like you would a fishing rod, which, depending on how you do so, affects the distance cast. Since I’ve ruined a hinge with a past DS Lite, I recommend holding the middle part of the system tightly as you cast, to prevent it from flopping around. Well, that and it just makes sense to hold onto the system tightly when physically casting the line, so you don’t end up throwing your 3DS into a wall. Once you’ve cast, you reel back in your lure, and how you tilt your 3DS will affect the movement of the lure as you are reeling it back in. When you are doing this, the view is shifted to the lure itself, and you can use the L and R buttons to pan around the lure to see where the fish are.
Once a fish has been fooled by your lure and bites down, you flick the system upwards quickly to set the hook. The word HIT! will flash across the screen. From there, you have to try and tire the fish out while reeling it in. This is known as The Fight. With this game, you fight the fish by holding the 3DS at an angle counter to the one it is trying to swim in, and tilt up or down to add or decrease pressure to the fishing line. The fish will have a thought bubble with its current condition shown in it, and there will be a meter on the left hand side of the screen showing you the amount of tension on your line, if the fish is getting the hook loose, and so on. Too much tension and the line might break, too little tension and the fish might get away. You end up playing a tug of war and wills with the virtual fish. The fight might change depending on rod, reel, strength of the fishing line and more.
I really enjoyed the use of the 3DS motion functions to simulate using a rod, and the fishing part is relaxing… right up to the moment you hook a fish, then the battle to catch the fish is both the proper amount of exhilarating and frustrating. There’s a constant element of risk versus reward while trying to catch a fish, as you need to pull back and reel in to wear the fish out, but if you do too much you might break the line and lose the fish, along with your line and lure. Often motion controlled games feel inaccurate or make the process more annoying; in this game it feels extremely well done and enhances the simulation aspects of the game.
Though the same things I enjoy about the game are the same things that sort of make it terrible as a portable title. I’m not going to sit in public casting and fighting a fish for several reasons. One of those reasons is that it just looks ridiculous on the city bus to do so, and when casting, there’s a good chance I’d hit someone nearby. Another is that I swear too much when trying to catch one of the fish. There’s no other option than using the motion controls for the game, which limits the portability of the title, but I still had a blast just drinking a beer and spending an afternoon (or admittedly several) fishing from the comfort of my own couch while my wife watched TV.
I’ll be spending even more time with the game, since there are over thirty different kinds of fish to catch (much more than just the bass mentioned in the title), several locations to fish from, multiple tournaments to play through, and more lures, rods, and equipment to purchase. The latter are purchased from selling fish that you’ve caught, and some items, like the galoshes or a boat, unlock new areas to fish from.
While Super Black Bass 3D may not be the prettiest fishing game, have the most modes or greatest sound effects, it manages to do well what counts the most, as the actual fishing part is very enjoyable. I’ve managed to play other portable fishing games with either more modes or better graphics, but most of those make the actual fishing part either too difficult to understand, or just plain not fun to play. If you’re the kind of person who wants to sit back on the couch, have a drink and see what you might catch, then this game is perfect. Even if you are just the kind of person that can spend hours in a fishing side game in something like Animal Crossing or Legend of Zelda, you also might enjoy what this game has to offer.
Short Attention Span Summary: Super Black Bass 3D is a fun fishing title that works well on the 3DS. If you enjoy virtual fishing at all and own a 3DS, I’d recommend playing this game.