Ridiculous Fishing (iOS) review

Ridiculous FishingRidiculous Fishing is a new iOS game from independent developer Vlambeer. It’s available now as a $2.99 download from the App Store, and is presently featured as an Editor’s Choice app at the time of writing.

Ridiculous Fishing is the follow-up to one of Vlambeer’s earliest games, a Web-based title known as Radical Fishing that originally launched on Bored.com. Vlambeer and Ridiculous Fishing made the headlines back in 2011 when Gamenauts announced its then-new game Ninja Fishing — a title that appeared to share a considerable number of gameplay mechanics and design features with Radical and Ridiculous Fishing. Public and press backlash against Gamenauts’ alleged cloning resulted in Vlambeer announcing Ridiculous Fishing much earlier than it had intended to, but it’s taken until now for the game to finally hit the market. This, as it turns out, was a wise decision; the two years of development time has given Vlambeer plenty of opportunity to refine and perfect its own product and release it to the public to be judged on its own merits rather than compared to Ninja Fishing — in the meantime, the developer has also been building its reputation with a number of other game projects on a variety of platforms, so they’re now in a much better position than they were two years ago.

Ridiculous Fishing’s concept is relatively straightforward and true to its Web-based predecessor’s roots. Players tap on the screen to cast their line into the water, and must then tilt their device side to side to maneuver their hook and avoid as many fish as possible while attempting to let out as much line as they have available. When the line reaches its maximum length or a fish bites the hook, the line starts rising again, and the player must snag as many fish as possible on the way up by, again, tilting their device from side to side. When the hook breaks the surface of the water, all the attached fish fly into the air and the player must use their equipped gun to kill as many as possible by tapping on them. Killing fish earns the player money — with a few exceptions that actually cost the player money to kill — which can subsequently be spent in an in-game shop to upgrade the player’s abilities with longer lines, better guns and various other special abilities. Catching a particular proportion of all the available breeds of fish in an area unlocks access to the next one, and the challenges get progressively more difficult as the game proceeds. There is no real “fail state,” but as the game becomes more challenging, it becomes more and more difficult to make money efficiently without purchasing upgrades.

Screen Shot 2013-03-15 at 10.00.50 AMAnd herein lies something that Vlambeer is proud of: the game features no in-app purchases whatsoever. Instead, they set the price of the game at $2.99 and do not allow any further in-app purchases of in-game currency or other content — no coin doublers, no hard currency, no vanity items. By doing this, the developer is able to control the pacing of its game and ensure that the player is always presented with a challenging situation; if the player could simply purchase in-game currency and immediately unlock the most effective equipment, there would be relatively little point in playing. This is a major difference between Ninja Fishing and Ridiculous Fishing — Ninja Fishing is a free-to-play game with in-app purchases of in-game currency, meaning players can effectively pay to win; in Ridiculous Fishing, meanwhile, players are required to demonstrate gradual improvements in their skill as the game progresses to unlock content at a good rate.

Social features for Ridiculous Fishing are lightweight but effective — Game Center support provides a leaderboard for those who reach the “endless” environment to compete against each other along with a suite of achievements, and a fake in-game Twitter-like app in which the game’s characters talk to each other allows players to retweet these amusing phrases to the real Twitter — and in a nice touch, the usernames used in the game’s “Byrdr” service are actually valid and correct Twitter usernames, too.

The presentation of Ridiculous Fishing is highly distinctive, and looks great on Retina displays. The visual aesthetic is all based around 45-degree angles, and gives the game a unique look and feel that again successfully distinguishes it from Ninja Fishing. The background sound and music is also very distinctive and catchy, combining chiptune, FM synthesis and other electronic sounds to provide the game with a soundtrack as good as its visuals.

The development of Ridiculous Fishing has clearly been a long and painful road for Vlambeer if its development blog is anything to go by, but the team’s hard work has paid off with a quality game that both press and public alike appear to be responding very well to. The game deserves to enjoy some strong success — particularly for adopting the very player-friendly approach of eschewing in-app purchases altogether — and demonstrates that Vlambeer is a developer who very much “gets” mobile gaming.

Ridiculous Fishing is currently ranked at No. 5 in Top Paid Apps, No. 32 in Top Grossing Apps, No. 8 in Top Paid iPad Apps, No. 4 in Top Paid Games, No. 30 in Top Grossing Games, No. 8 in Top Paid iPad Games and No. 50 in Top Grossing iPad Games. Follow its progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social games and developers.

Play

It’s been a long and painful development process for Vlambeer, but the team’s efforts have paid off with a top-quality mobile game that deserves a place on every iOS device.

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