Big Bass Arcade: No Limit
Genre: Special Fishlympics
Developer: Big John Games
Publisher: Big John Games (eShop)
Release Date: 6/13/2013
I wasn’t expecting the 3DS to be my go-to system for fishing games, but here I am reviewing another 3DS fishing game. Even though I like fishing games, I have not played the previous ones created by developer Big John Games for previous Nintendo systems, so this will be my first experience with the series.
The game offers three different modes to get your fish on: Free Fishing, which allows you to just fish however you’d like with no time constraints or limits; Challenge Mode, which provides an objective of catching specific fish within a 5 or 8 minute time limit; and Tournament Mode, which has the player compete against other characters for who can catch the most weight of a specific type of fish. Of these modes certain criteria must be met in order to unlock more tournaments or more lakes in which to fish. For the lakes, each is unlocked after catching a set amount of weight in bass.
Graphically the game looks really good for a downloadable title. It looks even better than the Super Black Bass 3D game I reviewed, with bright colors, different locations, and easily recognizable fish. Different locations even manage to have different debris under water. The sound effects are decent and the background music is serviceable. The 3D effect is really well done and provides a great sense of depth to the top screen.
Let’s get to it though, graphics, modes, and everything else doesn’t matter if the fishing part of a fishing game isn’t any good. Big Bass Arcade: No Limit has the game displayed on the top screen and a reel on the bottom. When you start out in a lake you only have lateral movement – that is, you can only move the boat left or right from the middle of the lake while facing the shore. So while there are several lakes, you only ever get to really see a small area. There is a marker on the shore which will change color depending of if there are fish in that area or not, from there you hit a button to start a meter, and press the button again to determine how far you cast the line. Higher on the meter, the further you cast.
Once the line has been cast the game shifts to an underwater camera view. From there you can see the nearby fish, and can start reeling the line back in. B is to reel slowly, A is to reel faster, and A + B is to reel it in very quickly. The touch screen can also be used to do this, but it didn’t feel as well as using the buttons. While reeling in the line a fish might take the bait and bite. At that point you press up on the D-Pad to hook the fish, and then ‘the fight’ is on.
Nearly every fishing game boils down to how well ‘the fight’ with the fish goes. In Big Bass Arcade: No Limit there is a tension meter on the screen, while trying to reel a fish in you try to keep that meter low by either letting off reeling it in or by going slower to let tension off of the line. At points the fish will struggle and the game simulates this part with a Quick Time Event, a direction will pop up on screen and you will have to hit that direction on the d-pad. If you don’t, the hook falls out and the fish is lost. If the tension gets too high, the line will snap, and the fish is lost.
Only problem is, ‘the fight’ portion of this game is about as difficult as fishing with dynamite. As long as you realize that the bigger the fish, the more patience you take with reeling it in, and you hit the button prompts right, you never have to worry about losing a fish. Smaller ones are even easier, you can pretty much just drag them in. There’s little point to reeling faster with a bigger fish, as long as you keep the tension low you’re just fine. There’s no reason to take that risk and lose the fish, which screws up the whole risk versus reward thing. The only point would be to catch fish faster, but once I caught over 100 pounds of bass just taking my time during the five minute challenge, because if your bait is near them (and the right bait) you’ll hook one easily and pull it in under minute no matter how big they are. It’s a tug-of-war with a predictable opponent.
In Super Black Bass 3D I had epic back and forth battles with different fish, and if they snapped the line then I could be shit out of luck for the tournament. Here the game is an arcade game with no punishment. If the line breaks, no sense worrying whether the fish will take the bait, and ‘the fight’ is boiled down to a mini-game that’s not hard to win at. Hell, if you mess it up, the fish just returns to the same spot anyway, just try again.
Some of these can be chalked up to the concession that it’s an arcade-style game, but screw that, I grew up with arcades, they were brutal because they wanted you to spend more quarters. This game is too simple to play and win at, there’s no high scores to share with your friends or the ability to play tournaments online for more of a challenge, or much to unlock. I unlocked all the lakes in 30 minutes and all nine lures in about the same amount of time. The tournaments and challenges will take longer to play through, though once you have the basics down it sort of feels like you’re just doing the same QTE over and over again, that none of the modes do much to relieve.
It looks good, controls well, and easy to play for younger players. However there’s no challenge or sense of progression to the game. It’s easy to play and easy to master, making the fishing part feel sort of pointless. Which isn’t good when fishing is the main draw of the game.
Short Attention Span Summary:
It’s like fishing with dynamite, but without the cool explosions. Younger gamers might get more out of the game, but I’d recommend other fishing titles over this one.