Incredible graphics and ambient sound lead to a natural and relaxing experience…oh, and the fishing is pretty good too
Solo fishing is a very calming and rewarding experience for me. I love being out on the open water with nothing but my thoughts and the sounds of nature around me. Just being able to be away from everything really lets me focus on what’s important in life.
With that said, as I started getting into VR, I was looking for a chill way to relax, since it can get pretty stressful sometimes when you’re playing some competitive games – your heart rate goes up and you start sweating, etc.
3D fishing titles offer exactly this – they are relaxing without requiring too much physical exertion or mental strain – just you and the lake (or whatever body of water you’re angling at).
I know there are more people like myself out there, so when I saw Real VR Fishing pop up on the Quest dashboard, I was immediately interested. After spending some time with the game and putting it through its paces, I give my thoughts on what works well and what could be improved below.
In real VR Fishing, there is no story. It’s just a crappy tutorial and then you go out and catch fish. The more fish you catch, the more locations, equipment and extras you unlock.
In between excursions, you can hang out at your fishing lodge, buy decorations and put the fish you’ve caught in your home aquarium. You can also customize your avatar here.
The tutorial consists of a very basic slideshow that tells you the basics but doesn’t explain everything you will need to know for the game.
The gameplay can be simple or challenging depending on the difficulty setting that you choose.
When you first start out, you will want to use easy mode so that you can grasp the controls and gameplay mechanics. Easy mode has on-screen pointers to help you land your first fish. You can even wear some future-tech goggles that show you where the fish are.
Hard mode takes away all this beginner help and your magic goggles are replaced with a more realistic fish radar. And expert mode gets rid of the fish radar, so you’re left with nothing but your senses and your experience when deciding where to cast.
The game can be played either sitting or standing. All movements are performed using the controller and your feet can remain in a static position throughout the gameplay.
The fishing mechanics are simple enough to start out and it really feels as though you are casting the line and reeling the fish in. As the game progresses, you need to be more skilled to land your fish, taking into account the tension of the line (as indicated by its colour), which way you jerk the rod and when to start reeling in your catch.
The changing colour of the line tension is perhaps the most unrealistic part of the gameplay. A green line is good, a red line is too tight and a blue line is too slack. However, this really cannot be considered a fault because it is currently technically impossible to feedback tension into a controller. If anything, this is an innovative way to ensure that, just as in real life, the tautness of the line remains a factor in landing a fish.
Rewards and progression
When you catch a fish, you are given the choice of either keeping it or letting it go.
If you let the little guy go, you are rewarded with experience (XP), which can be used to unlock things like new locations, new equipment and other items, such as decorations for your fishing lodge or boat.
If you keep your catch, you are rewarded with cold, hard, cash. Presumably, you sell the fish (although you are still able to put it into the aquarium back at your lodge). The money can then be used to buy better equipment, such as improved rods, reels and lures.
Multiplayer mode pits you against three other players to land the best fish. This is a great feature of the game and can be lots of fun. The community is pretty cool, too, and a lot more chilled than other VR social groups.
Multiplayer mode also provides functionality for real-time voice chat, which is very appealing for anyone that wants to chill with their mates, VR-style.
Another cool feature is the embedded browser that you can access in-game. A small window pops whilst you are playing and you can use it to surf the web, watch YouTube and listen to music.
The graphics are amazing. The fish are rendered beautifully, the equipment looks great and the animations are slick but the most amazing thing is the scenery.
All the locations are visually stunning and so realistic that they must be made up of high-definition photographs stitched together with some AI voodoo. The developers have also added little extra animations that demonstrate high attention to detail. Flocks of birds flying in formation, cars driving across a bridge and even distant fireworks when night all add to the realism of the experience.
There are also plenty of rivers and lakes to unlock – I think I counted about 20 but the developers regularly add more. Currently, they are all fishing spots in the developer’s home country of South Korea but there are plans to add locations in North America soon.
The audio is pretty decent, too. Ambient sounds create a compelling and natural atmosphere and add to the beauty of the game. The rippling of the water, the ‘swoosh’ of a rod being cast and the sound of the reel spinning are all spot-on.
What’s more, there is a built-in MP3 player, so that you can listen to your own music whilst playing, as well as the aforementioned web browser so that you can listen to songs from YouTube (or any other website).
As stated earlier, there are plenty of things to unlock and save up for as you progress through the game and this means that it will keep you occupied for a good 7-8 hours and maybe more. Although the gameplay is a bit repetitive, the difficulty scales up as you advance, which keeps the game challenging.
Real VR Fishing is both a game and an experience.
It is enjoyable to play and progress through the game but it is also a relaxing and meditative experience. The scenery is so beautifully rendered that it is easy to forget that you are in a virtual world.
Graphics and sound blend seamlessly to create a therapeutic and chilled experience – one time, I forgot all about the fishing and just sat in my boat in the middle of a lake simply taking in all the sights and sounds.
The gameplay is decent (although the tutorial is crap) and progression scales up the better you get. One thing that I did notice is that is far easier to progress in terms of XP than it is in terms of money. You can unlock stuff quite quickly but it seems to take an age to save up to buy better equipment. So, I think monetary compensation for catching fish should be increased a tad.
All in all, Real VR is a great buy for any VR gamer and gets a thumbs up from me 🙂