The iDevice has proven to be a successful platform for several arcade style fishing games, such as Freeverse’s Flick Fishing, that create a faster-paced experience. Activision’s Rapala Pro Bass Fishing takes the other route and incorporates many of the finer details and techniques in fishing in order to provide gameplay that is far more realistic.
The game takes you through a 60-event season mode in 5 real American lakes, including Okeechobee, Erie, and Minnetonka. 25 of these events are tournaments where you compete against several AI opponents to catch bigger and greater quantities of fish. By winning these tournaments, your character gains points that can be used to purchase better rods, tackle, and gear. There are 20 species of fish that range in size and difficulty, and some of them can only be caught in certain lakes or with certain equipment. Free fishing mode allows you to cruise without time limits in any lake that is unlocked. Rapala Pro Bass Fishing is a universal app, and a special iPad-only local multiplayer game mode is included.
Whereas other fishing games simply require you to wait for a bite and reel it in, Rapala includes many important fishing steps that are often overlooked. When you begin a level, you steer your boat and drag a slider on the right side of the screen to move near a designated fishing spot. After that, you pull your device back and flick it forward to cast the line. While in the water, you can perform special gestures to attract fish, and then have to hook it, reel it in, and net it before your catch is weighed. If you’re looking for an authentic fishing game, Rapala Pro Bass Fishing is as close as you’ll get right now.
Although free fishing mode has its fun features, the heart of the game lies in the massive season mode. As you win more tournaments, your reputation increases and you earn points to buy better equipment. There are several lures and rods to buy that will increase your chances of reeling in valuable game, as well as additional fishing spots if you’re willing to fork over the in-game currency.
The lakes look decent for the most part, with crystal clear sky backgrounds and acceptable water effects. If you’re comfortable with tilt controls, then the game should feel very smooth and easy to handle. If you own an iPad, you can also enjoy a nice local multiplayer game with a friend. The game is very engaging, and just like fishing in real life, it can require a lot of skill and precision to be good at.
While the game does contain a plethora of genuine features from real-life fishing, some elements of Rapala really take away from the feeling of reality. Once you cast your line, the game tells you to tilt your device in certain directions to perform special moves that are different for every rod. After doing this a few times, the a fish will swim swiftly towards the bait, requiring you to do little work at all. When casting and hooking, it really doesn’t matter if you land in the desired accuracy zone, as doing the special moves will guarantee a catch.
In this sense, Rapala Pro Bass Fishing doesn’t pass as an exemplary arcade or reality fishing game. The game takes too long to initiate for it to rival the experience that Flick Fishing provides, and the special gestures make it too easy to be accurate. You must also earn a medal in every event in a lake before moving on to the next lake. This can get frustrating because some tournament events take up to 20 minutes to finish, and losing will require you to start all over again. Although there is a button to finish the tournament instantly, your stats for the level remain the same and you end up having to gamble on whether or not any of the 4 AI competitors will be able to beat your score.
If you aren’t fond of accelerometer controls, then you’re out of luck on this one. Surprisingly enough, Rapala does not include another option to replace the extensive tilt controls. When winning a tournament, you are shown the same cutscene that looks like a Nascar awards ceremony. Many of the cutscenes are blurry and not impressive at all. Thankfully, you can skip them with a simple tap.
Rapala Pro Bass Fishing is the most authentic fishing currently available, and it’ll take you a while to get through the 60-event season mode. However, the implementation of special moves and extremely tedious tournaments pull down what might have been an exceptional game. Rapala Pro Bass Fishing is worth considering for $4.99, depending largely on whether or not you enjoy using tilt controls.