Tag Archives: fishing

2016 Game Review Haiku, #28 – Big’s Big Fishing Adventure 3

2016 gd games completed big the cat

In search of Froggy
Big the Cat will fish him back
Silly references

Here we go again. Another year of me attempting to produce quality Japanese poetry about the videogames I complete in three syllable-based phases of 5, 7, and 5. I hope you never tire of this because, as far as I can see into the murky darkness–and leap year–that is 2016, I’ll never tire of it either. Perhaps this’ll be the year I finally cross the one hundred mark. Buckle up–it’s sure to be a bumpy ride. Yoi ryokō o.

Stardew Valley is undoubtedly a more fun Harvest Moon

stardew valley screenshot 02

I don’t have the longest or most memory-filled history with the Harvest Moon series, only entering the franchise a few years back with titles like Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon and Harvest Moon: Grand Bazaar. I wasn’t very impressed, though I wished to be. On paper, these sound fantastic and easy to lose hours of time to, but they both began so slow and challenging that they turned into non-starters. I even came back to the well for a third time with Harvest Moon: Back to Nature, but that didn’t last long as I quickly realized making progress was still going to be a painstakingly lengthy task. Sure, you could make the comparison to real life, that managing and seeing an actual farm profit is no cake walk, but I’m not interested in a one-to-one simulator. It really shouldn’t take months to acquire a single cow, and then more months for the cow to like me enough to provide milk.

Still, being a massive fan of Animal Crossing and a few farming simulators that will remain nameless, I continued to scan the gaming horizon almost daily for something of this farming/dating sim ilk that will satisfy my curiosity. Which brings us to Stardew Valley, the talk of the Internet town over the last week. Amazingly, it’s developed by one person, Eric Barone under the handle ConcernedApe, and published by Chucklefish, and is receiving a lot of praise and press. I asked Greg Noe to sell me on the game as I know he’s a big fan of Harvest Moon, and he straight up gifted me a copy. Bless you, Internet neighbor. But if your farm is to be a raging success, you can’t give away the goods all time.

The story is one we’ve heard before: you’ve inherited your grandfather’s old farm plot in the titular Stardew Valley. After slumming around in a corporate workspace and feeling a severe disconnect with the world, you grab a few essential tools, a handful of coins, and make your way to the farm, which I named Perdido Farm after China Miéville‘s New Weird novel just because, to begin your new life. However, it’s not going to be easy, especially under the shadow of the Joja Corporation. Plus, a large part of the nearby Pelican Town is in disrepair, so not only do you have to make this plot of land of yours a success, but also rebuild the town from the ground up.

Graphically, it’s pixel art, but it’s sweet, delicious pixel art. Really colorful and fun, and more detailed than you might assume, especially once you get inside some of the shops and homes. It’s a sharper SNES title, with a slicker interface. I got to make my avatar in my own likeness (see above), and the menus are easy to navigate through. Call me silly and maybe this has more to do with me playing a lot of open-world games as of late, but I wish there was a way to mark a location on the map and follow directions to it. Like I said, silly.

Well, I’ve put about two hours in Stardew Valley so far, which is equivalent to five or six days in-game, and I can safely say that this gets things going much faster than other Harvest Moon titles. Again, there’s a lot one can do during the day, and a part of me wishes time moved slower or the character had a faster walking speed, because it can take a decent chunk of his day simply going from place to place. You’ll want to clean up debris on your farm, plant crops, sell materials, meet people, take on quests, and so on. When I say there’s a lot to do, there’s a lot to do, and I don’t have the space here to list everything out.

Instead, I’ll focus on a couple of big aspects. First, I really like the there’s a quest log. That might seem like a small detail or even just the norm these days, but previous Harvest Moon games didn’t have it, which often lead to me not knowing what to do next or give me a goal to focus on while waiting for those parsnips to grow. Items and tools and everything else contain detailed information, which is handy, and the map is intimidatingly large. I’ve not yet met all the citizens of Pelican Town–how do you greet the wizard?–so I’m not ready to pick a potential love interest or discuss how the dating sim elements work. Lastly, the idea of rebuilding this town and doing side quests from the bullet board by Pierre’s shop is hitting the nail on two different heads: my fondness for quest boards, as well as watching castle headquarters grow in Suikoden and Suikoden II.

I don’t understand the fishing minigame. Wait. Let me rephrase that. I understand the mechanics behind it, but I don’t understand it as a whole. It seems both challenging and random, and at the same time I’m not desiring an easy button press like in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and everyone should already know my feelings on really bad fishing minigames. I just worry that fishing can be too much of a risk or time waster despite obviously containing some great rewards.

Anyway, I’m eager to get back to Stardew Valley tonight and continue making progress, especially with those parsnips. It’s definitely one of those “one more day” kind of games, where one more day actually results in you playing for several more hours. If you don’t hear from me after a bit, check the farm.

2012 Game Review Haiku, #17 – Professor Layton’s London Life

Start in Humble Homes
Stop comet from killing all
Crumm wants more Swinefish

For all the games I complete in 2012, instead of wasting time writing a review made up of points and thoughts I’ve probably already expressed here in various posts at Grinding Down, I’m instead just going to write a haiku about it. So there.

The Top Five Worst Fishing Minigames

Some of my favorite memories are based around fishing, which I find funny as it’s an activity I haven’t done in many years. Or desire to do anymore. I don’t mind crabbing and pulling up traps to see if anything crawled on in, but hooking a worm and just waiting for a tug is no longer ideal for me. Plus, the last time I went fishing, I ended up standing still for so long that the back of my legs got some wicked sunburn on them, an unfortunate lesson definitely learned.

And yet, when it comes to videogames, there’s something addicting about fishing minigames and trying to catch the biggest or rarest sea critter possible. Crack-like, almost. In some games, fish means food. Others use it as just a means to money. And some have it simply for the sake of another thing to collect. To this day, I’ve still not caught a coelacanth in Animal Crossing: Wild World, but I know my sister has, and for that, boat-loads of respect. I did get every other fish and enjoyed every minute of it.

However, this list is not about my favorite fishing minigames. No, this one’s all about those that didn’t do it for me, that were too complicated or not deep enough. These are the ones that should’ve been tossed back in during development.

5. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

To unlock the fishing minigame, Link has to first complete a totally optional sidequest. One that’s easy to miss, too. Something to do with a mermaid, and I don’t remember any of the details except that your reward is a fishing rod. You can then go fishing, which uses the DS touchscreen to its fullest: tap to cast your line, then place stylus over Link and pull down on him without ever lifting the stylus off the touchscreen, and if you are good enough, you’ll snag a fish on your hook. Now it gets even tougher. Two meters pop up, distance and your rod’s strength, and you have to pay attention to both as you try to reel in your catch. LET GO and PULL constantly pop up on the top screen. It can take several tiring minutes to be successful, and I think I only caught two fish in total before not caring anymore. The minigame was too hard, too technical.

I had more fun using the ship’s crane to pull up underwater treasure chests. If only it could snag fish, too.

4. Final Fantasy XII

I spent well over 70 hours romping through Ivalice, completing as many marks as I could safely find, filling out the license board, and killing judges with extreme glee–and yet I never stumbled across the fishing minigame. Oh, it’s there. I’ve seen talk of it on the Interwebz. But like the entry just above in this grand ol’ list, you really have to work towards unlocking it. According to others, the fishing minigame becomes available after Vaan and the gang visit the Draklor Laboratories area during the main plot. However, to get the most out of the minigame, several mark hunts have to be completed, as well as the Barheim side-quest. I’m guessing I never did any of that stuff. Supposedly, the fishing game consists of a very basic button memory test, with six opportunities to catch a bottle or fish. Through this, you have the chance to catch the ultimate reward, the Lu-Shang Badge, a key component of the most powerful weapon in the game. I consider it one of the worst fishing minigames because it seemed to be dropped into the game like an afterthought.

3. Magician’s Quest: Mysterious Times

This game is, for all intents, a Hogwarts-themed clone of Animal Crossing: Wild World, which would lead many to believe that I’d absolutely love it. But no, I don’t. The devs added a middle man to their fishing minigame, one that’s fairly annoying. In AC:WW, you catch a fish and you either donate it to the museum or you sell it directly to Tom Nook for some sweet bells. In MG:MT, you catch a fish, and your only choice is to donate it to a magical book, which will then give you an item based on the type and size of the fish, which you can then bring to the local shop to sell for some money. It’s a slow, unpredictable process, but unfortunately it’s one of the main ways to make money to buy new brooms and CDs. If only you could just take the fish to the shop and cut out the middle man book.

2. Nier

My experience with Nier so far has been this, word for word, fish fail for fish fail. I’d like to play some more of the game, as there were a few interesting bits, but if there’s any more story-related fishing quests, I don’t think I can soldier on.

1. Professor Layton’s London Life

Yup, a minigame within a minigame–and it’s atrocious. Fishing seems simple enough in London Life: acquire a fishing outfit, find a good spot, and cast away. When the exclamation mark appears above your avatar’s head, press the action button to reel in the fish. The wet noodle is that it’s seemingly random. If you’re not fast enough–and you have to be super fast as one millisecond off is enough to fail–you won’t catch the fish and lose a ton of Happiness. Maybe between 2,000 to 3,000. Which only then makes catching fish even harder, as a happy fisherman is a successful one.

And right now, I have two quests for one character. Deliver a note, and the other is to catch two Thames trout. However, I can’t turn in the former quest until I complete the latter, and that might take awhile as I’ve tried numerous times to catch these special fish. It’s frustrating, and I find myself trying once, losing Happiness, and going off to do some other actions.

More than likely, I’d rather be really fishing than testing my patience with these fishing minigames. Got any fish stories of your own? Speak up in the comments below!