Fishing games are certainly an unusual genre. Someone who isn’t acquainted with video games at all, or even someone who simply doesn’t tend to like fishing games, would look at them and simply think they were very, very boring.
This would be missing the point entirely, however. If you want adrenalized, explosion-heavy action in your games, there are an untold number of options out there for you. Fishing games represent something different. Their often sedate pace can relax you, and sometimes provide an almost meditative experience. The lengthy buildup, courtesy of that slow pace, can result in enormously satisfying payoffs when you do finally make a big catch. The intricacies of some of their mechanics can also provide an excellent, invigorating challenge.
For your reading pleasure, we’ve baited our proverbial line, cast it out into the bountiful ocean of fishing games, and snagged some absolute beauties. We’ve come up with a wide range of choices, to satisfy real-life fishing junkies and more casual fans alike. So, without further ado, here are the best fishing games currently available to buy.
Sega Bass Fishing
Most genres have their widely-accepted “best game”, or – at least – the top dogs have been boiled down to a handful of options. Fishing games are unusual in this regard, as there’s no clear-cut “best” one in the eyes of the community. That said, however, Sega Bass Fishing is about as close as it comes.
Having originally become popular as one of the Dreamcast’s launch titles, Sega Bass Fishing went on to be ported to the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC (you can still pick it up on Steam today). Its graphics haven’t aged brilliantly, but its arcade-style gameplay remains as engaging now as it ever was. If you’re looking for an entry point into fishing games, then Sega Bass Fishing’s perfect blend of accessible fun and well-judged mechanics make it an excellent choice.
If you’re looking for something a little more modern, which will take advantage of the power of modern hardware, look no further than Fishing Planet. It’s available for both PC and PS4, and is completely free to play (albeit with the usual, optional F2P purchases).
This title made a real splash upon its announcement, courtesy of a gloriously over-the-top trailer, and it’s more than managed to live up to the subsequent hype. Its environments are drop-dead gorgeous, from faraway mountains in the background to the ripples of the water in which you’re operating. It takes a far more realistic approach to the sport than Sega Bass Fishing, but – in our opinion – is just as fun, particularly when you’re fishing with friends online.
Oh, and we mentioned that it’s free, right? What are you waiting for?!
Perhaps more than any other title, Fishing Master pushes the technological boundaries of the fishing genre.
The hook here is that Fishing Master is a virtual reality game (only currently available for PlayStation VR), meaning it offers unprecedented levels of immersion into this age-old pastime. The feeling that you are the one actually out there on the water makes the experience of casting your line, then reeling in a catch, all the more satisfying; something which is enhanced by the beautiful graphics. This is more than a mere tech demo, however: there are 9 well-realized locations to try out, and a whopping 200-plus species of fish to lure in.
If you’re the owner of a PlayStation VR headset, then we can’t recommend trying out the free demo for Fishing Master highly enough.
Bass Pro Shops: The Strike
As one of the most prominent names in the fishing and hunting retail sector, you’d expect big things from a Bass Pro Shops fishing game. Fortunately, The Strike generally delivers.
Let’s get the negatives out of the way first. The graphics were a little drab on release, and haven’t improved with time. The environments in general aren’t particularly inspiring, and lack the variety of other titles we’ve looked at.
So, what’s The Strike doing on this list? Simply put, if you’re a hardcore fishing nut, this might be your best option of the bunch. If there’s one thing Bass Pro Shops know about, it’s equipment, and this expertise is ably displayed here. The variety of rods and accessories on offer is exhaustive, with all your favourites almost certainly present and correct. The gameplay is similarly realistic, including in-depth options – like whether to use a spoon or jerk bait – which will satisfy even the most experienced anglers.
If you feel the need to carry on fishing when you’re on the go, you should definitely take a look at i Fishing. It’s one of the premier mobile fishing games on the market, and it’s out on both iOS and Android, with a “Lite” version available for free. The graphics are reasonable, and the realistic gameplay is pleasingly robust, offering a true simulation even on touch screens. There’s a reason why this is the biggest-selling mobile fishing game on the market, with a reported 20 million total downloads.
Ridiculous Fishing: A Tale of Redemption
Ridiculous Fishing is another option for mobile gamers, albeit one which takes a very different approach than the more stern-faced i Fishing, as its name implies. In fact, this is a very silly game indeed, but one which is a whole lot of fun nonetheless.
It’s basically a combination of 3 minigames. First, you drop your line into the ocean, dodging fish on your way down. Once you hit a fish, you catch it and your line starts to retreat upwards; at this point, you want to catch as many fish as possible before your hook reaches the surface. Once they’re out of the water, the fish are – for some reason – thrown up into the sky, and you must shoot down as many as you can, earning money as you do so. As we said, it’s an extremely silly game, but if you’re looking for a completely different, light-hearted take on the fishing genre, Ridiculous Fishing: A Tale of Redemption is well worth a try.