Real Fishing 2014 Review: The One That Got Away

I have no problem with free-to-play. I understand the economics of gaming, that people want things for free, and that they’re more willing to spend money after the fact than up front. As well, free-to-play has brought so many new …

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I have no problem with free-to-play. I understand the economics of gaming, that people want things for free, and that they’re more willing to spend money after the fact than up front. As well, free-to-play has brought so many new players into gaming, that even the bad games are doing some good. But do not mistake this for an acceptance of games that aren’t just bad, but awful. And Real Fishing 2014 is terrible free-to-play, because it’s so cynical: its attitude toward players is that they’re here to feed more money into the machine, and in return they’ll get to do a bit of fishing, which in turn will require being constantly on guard about spending more money.

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The fishing works by going to one of several levels, swiping to cast the line, then reeling in, with a fish eventually catching on to the lure. At this point, players must try to reel the fish in, while managing the tension meter, keeping it from maxing out lest the line snap. However, keeping the tension high increases the “set the hook” meter, which can be used to get free reeling-in time for larger fish. The selected lure can help get bigger and better fish, which are worth more money. Essentially, the goal is to keep catching and selling fish, buying better equipment to catch bigger and better fish, and unlocking new areas to play in. The game doesn’t really do anything overwhelmingly new in its premise.

The thing is, Real Fishing 2014 is just cynical in its monetization. Many games have a period where they go lightly on trying to get players’ money until a certain point where players are acclimated. Not this game, it pushes the game’s hard currency, bucks, and the use thereof, from the word go. There’s boosts to buy, rods and reels to repair as they wear down over time, fancy lures that require bucks, and plenty of limited-time things, like saving a lure from being lost by spending bucks. As well, coins, the soft currency, are earned at a fairly slow rate, and repairs can be bought with them too. Expect to do a lot of grinding, and be warned: there’s a slow-charging energy system in play. And all these systems are at full blast pretty much from the moment the tutorial ends.

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The worst part is that the game punishes players for spending bucks and trying to get ahead of the game. Buy a lure to catch higher-ranked fish? Hope your strength and tension stats are high enough where you can buy the fish, as you’ll likely wind up having to spend more bucks to keep that lure, as you’ll get fish that are too strong to catch. Oh yeah, that the game makes it such that these fish can’t be caught with persistence, but require upgrading stats, or putting in more bucks to buy temporary stength boosts, or even to just preserve the lure, that might have required a lot of bucks to begin with? That’s downright hostile to players.

Certainly, buying more and better equipment to attract and catch better fish is going to be part of any fishing game with some depth. But the systems in Real Fishing doesn’t feel like a natural part of a fishing game experience, it feels like it’s part of a cynicism that sees its players as being only giant money bags, ready not as people trying to enjoy a game with optional purchases. And considering that the fishing is so rudimentary that it’s possible to rapidly reel in by swiping vertically instead of spinning around, and there’s no representations of things like fish finders, or even traveling on a lake, it’s just a question of why even play this the first time?

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I know that many games are taking part in a charade, where they mask their true money-slurping nature, but they at least give off a sense of satisfaction and let players get into the game without worrying too much about spending money – at least at first. Real Fishing doesn’t do that. And it makes playing for free an uphill climb, by making it so hard to earn money, and constantly having things to repair, the threat of lost lures, and more.

I think the most apparent thing about how Real Fishing 2014 sees its players is tht there’s a tackle box full of items that costs so many bucks that it can’t even be bought with the $99.99 IAP. You have to spend more on top of that to afford it.

Don’t play Real Fishing 2014. It is a game that cares so little about its players and providing a fun experience for them that we just can’t recommend it. You’d have more fun and spend less money failing to fish your lost car keys out of a sewer. You deserve better.

Still want to play and need help?  Read our Real Fishing 2014 Tips, Cheats, and Strategy Guide.

The good

  • Lots of content.

The bad

  • Extremely aggressive monetization, to the point that it adversely affects the game from the very beginning.
20 out of 100
I'm Carter Dotson! I'm a freelance writer from Chicago, IL, by way of San Antonio, TX. I'm still not used to that whole 'winter' thing. I've had a lifelong passion for gaming, especially on-the-go gaming of all forms, and a special place in my heart for games by small developers. I care way too much about baseball, too.