FishPro review

FishPro is a new Facebook game developed in collaboration with the fishing tournament organization FLW. It’s available now in open beta on Facebook, and is currently featured in sidebar advertising on Facebook’s App Center.

FishPro

FishPro is a fishing simulation in which players take on the role of a rookie fisherman and attempt to prove themselves by completing a variety of quests and competing in tournaments. Basic fishing gameplay involves equipping one’s rod with an appropriate hook, line, lure and bait and then casting into the water by pressing and holding a “cast” button to set the power level. Once cast, the game splits to a side-on view depicting numerous fish swimming by underwater. The player may reel in their line in an attempt to attract fish. It’s normally very obvious which fish will “bite” because they will be the ones who are not swimming in a straight horizontal line — fish that will not bite are also depicted as out of focus.

Screen Shot 2013-02-26 at 2.30.09 PMWhen the player gets a bite, they must click the Strike button, at which point the game switches back into first-person mode. The player must then reel in the fish by pressing and holding a “reel” button while keeping an eye on a line tension meter. Reeling too much will cause the line to snap; not reeling enough will allow the fish to get away. When the fish has been successfully caught, it can either be kept in the player’s ice box to sell later in exchange for soft currency, or released immediately to add to the player’s “reputation” value. In both cases, the player gains experience points and may share their catch on their Facebook Timeline. Soft currency is used to purchase new equipment and consumable items; reputation builds up over time and allows players to unlock new content. The player may continue fishing for as long as they have energy, and energy restores on each level up. Hard currency may be used to restore energy and purchase more effective premium equipment.

The game features regular tournaments which challenge players to complete various objectives within a time limit, with generous rewards on offer for the winners. Entering a tournament is a simple matter of fulfilling the prerequisites — usually a particular level or reputation value plus an entry fee — and then competing as best they can in the given time and within the constraints of the energy system. Entering tournaments also earns the player reputation points.

Besides fishing, shopping and entering tournaments, FishPro is clearly a game designed for real-world fishing enthusiasts. Its “FishPro University” section provides links to various parts of the FLW’s website and rewards players with reputation and experience for reading these articles. If players are a member of the FLW, they may also log in to their account through the game to earn additional benefits, including FLW-exclusive tournaments, in-game awards and booster items to give them an advantage.

FishPro is a good fishing game. Its basic gameplay is relatively simplistic, but a great deal of depth is added by the sheer amount of purchasable items and locations in which the player can go and fish. Many of the items on offer are real items from real brands, and in these cases a link is provided to buy the item for real. Social features are well-implemented and unobtrusive, and at no point is the player forced into playing with others or inviting friends if they do not wish to. The tournament facility is easy to compete in and allows players to enjoy the thrill of competitive play even if they don’t have any friends actively playing the game; meanwhile, if they do, the usual “free gifts” mechanic is in place to allow friends to reward one another.

FishPro

On the whole, then, FishPro is a good example of how to make an accessible, fun game that sensibly leverages real-life brands and organizations without being obtrusive about it. Rather than feeling like the game is stuffed full of advertising, the implementation of real fishing brands and organizations into FishPro helps give the game an air of authenticity, which will doubtless be appealing to real-life anglers looking to get a good virtual fix in a free moment. Beyond that, the game is friendly to both casual and more dedicated players, makes good use of Facebook as a social platform and is well-presented. In short, it’s a good game that deserves to enjoy some success.

FishPro currently occupies the 10,000+ MAU tier with a rank of 3,943 and an estimated MAU figure of 30,000. It also occupies the >4,000 DAU tier with a rank of 4,177 and an estimated DAU figure of less than 4,000. Once the game leaves beta and receives some more active promotion, it’s likely these figures will pick up somewhat, but in the meantime it’s still worth checking out.

Play

A good fishing game, and an excellent example of how to integrate real-life brands and organizations into a game in a non-obtrusive manner.

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