First it was fruit, but apparently ninja can’t live on fruit alone, so now they’ve taken up fishing as well. Ninja Fishing is an interesting mash-up from Gamenauts that combines kiddie style deep sea fishing with fast action object slicing in a setup that actually works quite well. There are many upgrades to earn and a cool dinosaur island to unlock (if you’re extremely patient or willing to shell out the money for in-game coins), and 52 different types of fish to collect will certainly keep you busy for a while. As long as developers keep coming up with these interesting variants, the slicing object genre should thrive for a long time to come.
Apparently you’re one of the laziest ninjas alive, because instead of prowling the streets assassinating hapless victims you’re just leaning back in your boat with a fishing reel in one hand and a leg of something in the other. As long as you’re not doing anything productive, though, you might as well see if you can become the best ninja fisherman around. Slicing up the fish you catch will earn you money to buy better equipment and hopefully the chance to visit the famed Dinosaur Island. Do you have what it takes to reach the deepest parts of the ocean, get the most exotic specimens and become the master fisherman?
To catch some fish you simply tap the screen to release your line. As long as you dodge the sea creatures the line will keep descending to its ultimate length. As you progress through the game you’ll be able to upgrade the line’s length, as well as add weights that bore through the top layers of fish to allow you to get deeper into the ocean more rapidly. Once you snag your first fish or the line is fully extended it heads back up at which time you want to catch as many more fish as you can. You tilt the device back and forth to guide the line and just need to make sure the hook is near a fish’s mouth to grab it. You’re limited to the number of fish you can grab in one haul, but like everything else that can be upgraded over time.
Once the fish surface the slicing begins. Simply drag your finger across a fish to slice it with your virtual Katana. Some fish require more than one swipe to slice, and eventually you can upgrade your Katana to do more damage per swipe. You can even buy a special Katana for 99 cents that will slice through most fish in one try and will also slice through bombs. Bombs are bad, and if you accidentally slice them without the proper Katana the current round is over, though you do get to keep whatever you’ve earned up to that point.
Each fish is worth money when you’ve sliced it, and that money can be used towards upgrading everything from the capacity of your hook to the style of your boat. To get to Dinosaur Island you’ll actually need to purchase the time machine for 90,000 gold coins, but those with not quite so much patience can purchase coins from the store if they like. One thing I’ve noticed is that it seems you can’t downgrade items, so while you might find the bomb annoying think twice before buying the special Katana, because you’ll really be depriving yourself of some of the challenge with such a powerful weapon.
The controls are pretty simple, as I’ve tried to describe throughout the review. About the only thing that kind of bugged me regarding game play was the fact that a lot of the fish are thrown either really close to the edge of the screen or to the bottom of the screen, making it quite hard to swipe them. I suppose that adds to the challenge as well, but it can be frustrating if bigger fingers prohibit you from getting some fish because of their proximity to the edge of the screen.
I like the visuals in Ninja Fishing. The different sea creatures look cool, especially the parrot fish that looks like a parrot. While it’s generally suitable for kids, keep in mind that they will be seeing a lot of animals sliced in half, and when you use the drill in the water there is some blood floating about. The ninja also looks pretty neat, and it would have been nice to see him used in some cut scenes every once in a while, even if it was for something silly like talking to a fish or something. The sound effects are pretty standard for this sort of game, and sadly we never hear a voice along with the amusing quips that are shared at the beginning of each round. The music is decent but nothing exciting. The tune sounds like oriental elevator music.
Every time I come across a new addicting game on my iPod Touch, it amazes me how the simple things can be so compelling. Ninja Fishing is one of those simple pleasures. The object slicing portion of the game really doesn’t offer anything new, but combining it with the fishing aspect was brilliant. It was also a pretty good strategy to make the new island quite salty pricewise, as that gives you plenty of incentive to keep coming back. I imagine once you’re fully upgrade and you’ve caught every type of sea creature there won’t be much cause to carry on, but by then you’ll have gotten more than you money’s worth out of the game.
Final Verdict: 8/10
- Interesting combination of game play styles
- Plenty to upgrade and collect
- Nice visuals
I don’t like:
- Too many fish are tossed too close to borders
- Unlocking new island is quite costly