Super Black Bass Fishing DS Review
Fishing games CAN work. Sega has already proven this little theory with the release of their arcade-based Sega Bass Fishing series, and I'm sure there are other examples I can easily point out that show that you can get the joy out of playing a video game almost as much as getting up early in the morning, hopping in a boat with a six pack of Schlitz (or chosen beverage at hand), and catching yourself some fine fish. But then there are the examples that don't work, the games that so painfully try to recapture the fishing experience that they become a struggle in themselves, and thus suck all the fun out of the proceedings. Kinda like getting up early, getting on the boat, catching nothing, and having to eat Ramen Noodles for dinner.
That's what Super Black Bass Fishing for the Nintendo DS feels like- a massively poor letdown of a game that has nothing going for it, even though the box feels that it has to boast some kind of ingenuity. To its credit, the game does try to employ some touches to take advantage of the Nintendo DS system, like a touch-screen system to navigate your boat to a certain point and even controlling the movement of your lure and reel.
Problem is, so much effort went into the system that it fails to represent anything resembling fun. When you do end up catching a fish (which is, oh, pretty often), there's barely any kind of struggle whatsoever. Oh, there's a "fish mood meter", but, really, it's pretty pointless. Why not just unleash a fish psychologist on the boat to ask him how he's feeling as you easily net him? The fun is sucked right out of the room when you realize there's very little change to the process. And the touch-screen controls are easily mastered, thus becoming dull by the time you net your fifth fish. Your FIFTH FISH. You'd think a game like this would have some more longevity than that.
Worse yet, the presentation is an absolute bore. The graphics are pretty sub-standard for the Nintendo DS layout, complete with boring locales, generic fish animation, and a terrible interface that barely even comes to life. It looks like one of them generic fish navigating electronic devices you buy at Gart Bros., except they're more expensive, accurate, and, well, more authentic than this piece of garbage. The sound is even worse, with poor music and sound effects that fail to live up the proceedings. I'm not asking for disco music or anything, just something more damn comprehensive than what we have here.
The game does offer a few extra modes to its credit, including practice and a wireless multiplayer mode where you can catch fish with friends, but they're just as broken as the main game. In fact, multiplayer runs into a series of glitches, and somehow when you hook up with a friend, they don't have to go through the same insufferable steps of listening to the music that you have on hand. Uh, what? If I'm suffering, they sure as hell better be suffering, too. Or maybe we should both just play something else. Yeah, that works best.
Super Black Bass Fishing may be budget-priced, but even at $20, it's an absolute stinker. The gameplay has no long-term value to redeem itself, and the presentation is a generic mess. Do yourself a favor and just do the real thing instead, or go find a Dreamcast and a copy of Sega Bass Fishing. You'll thank me later...and won't have to visit that fish psychologist.
What's Hot: Touch-screen controls; multiplayer fishing
What's Not: Terrible presentation; boring gameplay aplenty