Aside from fishing at the heated dock at Lake Shawnee or giving ice fishing a try, anglers can scratch their fishing itch digitally with Rapala’s new fishing game, “Rapala Fishing Pro Series,” available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
The game provides a fun, arcade style of fishing that is filled with fast action, big fish and even online tournaments for those with a competitive streak. Better yet, at $29.99, it’s a relatively inexpensive purchase by video game standards.
There’s a surprisingly large diversity of species in this game, as many of the fishing games I played in the past had a habit of sticking to two or three species at most. This game includes largemouth and smallmouth bass, black and white crappie, walleye, Northern pike, walleye, rainbow trout, bluegill and more. There are specific goals on each lake that you can complete to earn money so you can upgrade your equipment, and the goals do a good job of getting each species of fish represented (Example: “Catch 10 walleye” or “Catch three bluegill in five minutes”). It makes each lure an important tool in your tackle box, so you will need to learn how to master them.
Each lure has a special retrieve that you must figure out to draw out get the most out of its action. The first lure you fish with, the Rapala Original Floater, has a pattern of “Left, Right, Left, Right” that moves it exactly like how you would work the lure in open water.
I don’t love the battle system when you’re fighting to get the fish in, but it is nice to see Rapala take a chance and do something new with their games. The battle takes place underwater, and you must keep your fish within a certain area to prevent your line from snapping and to get short boosts to the speed of your retrieval. I personally prefer more of a simulation style like you see in “Euro Fishing,” the “Reel Fishing” games or “Fishing Planet,” which I will review in a future column, where you are battling the fish from the viewpoint of the angler and you don’t know how big the fish is or what kind it is until you get it to shore or in the boat. It’s more realistic to me and feels more natural, but I can also see why people would like the intense underwater battles of the arcade style, like what you would see in the old “Sega Bass Fishing” game that everyone who ever went to Chuck E. Cheese’s as a kid has played at least once.
The game also features real lakes and, while the graphics aren’t nearly as crisp as “Fishing Planet,” they are lightyears ahead of the first fishing games I ever played — namely “TNN Outdoors Bass Tournament ’96” for the Sega Genesis and the old handheld Tiger Electronics fishing games — and I spent hours playing those games.
Still would, probably.