Ridiculous Fishing: Don’t catch, catch, and shoot

Developer Vlambeer recently launched Ridiculous Fishing exclusively on iOS. It’s a universal app for iPhone and iPad, and the best $2.99 you’ll ever spend on an iOS game. Ridiculous Fishing is a remake of Vlambeer’s first game, Radical Fishing, and is meant to depict “realistic simulations of traditional redneck fishing.”

Gameplay Summary
Someone tweeted their kid’s summary of the game, and it’s perfect: You don’t catch fish, you catch fish, and then you shoot fish. The game has three main stages. First, you drop your line into the water and try to avoid as many fish as possible to gain maximum depth. If you hook a fish (or reach the bottom, or run out of line), the line stops descending and starts ascending to the surface. On the way up, the goal is to catch as many fish as possible, collecting new species along the way. Some species of fish (jellyfish) you’ll want to avoid because they lose money. Once at the surface, all the fish you caught will fly into the air. Now the fun really begins. You get to finish them off with one of many available firearms. As each fish explodes, money flows into the bank, with some fish bringing in much more cash than others.

The Map
The game is split into four fishing areas: Home Waters, Stormy Seas, Arctic Floes, and The Maelstrom. Each fishing area has a different depth and unique species of fish. Home Waters is 300m deep, Stormy Seas is 500m deep, Arctic Floes is 700m deep, and The Maelstrom has infinite depth (I’ve been down to 995m). As mentioned above, to unlock each new fishing area, you need to collect more species of fish. That means going deeper in each area, or even returning to previous fishing areas at different times of the day.

The Store
The game includes a store, which refreshingly doesn’t include in-app purchasing. You simply use the money earned from catching fish. The items in the store are categorized into five categories: Reels, Guns, Lures, Tech, and Misc.

Reels: This sections has seven reels to choose from, each with lines of increasing length (50m, 100m, 200m, 300m, 500m, 700m, infinite). As you progress through the game, reels are usually the first item to upgrade, so you can catch more species of fish at greater depths.

Guns: There are eleven different guns available in the store, each increasing in cost and firepower (pistol, shotgun, uzi, double uzis, minigun, double miniguns, magnum, blunderbus, auto shotgun, orbital ray, bazooka). As you catch more fish, more firepower is required to shoot them all before they hit the ground. I found that the minigun was the only gun needed to complete the game. Although, once you go bazooka, you’ll never go back.

Lures: There are five lures available (basic, chainsaw, boost saw, hover saw, swiss-made). The lures require fuel to use, and this section of the store also includes three different sizes of fuel tanks. The lures make it easier to achieve greater depth. All lures except the basic one cut through fish, preventing the line from stopping its descent. The boost saw lets you descend faster, the hover saw lets you stop ascending to catch more fish or avoid jellyfish, and the swiss-made lure shoots blades killing more fish (and making more money) whenever you use it. The lures work as long as fuel is available. The best strategy is to use the lures sparingly to cut through congested areas of fish, or to kill rare fish you might see on the way down. I always like to save a little fuel for the ascent, which helps catching desirable fish and avoiding others.

Tech: The store has ten tech items (spring, antigravity, toaster, hairdryer, tesla coil, boot, bowling ball, oil drum, lamp, large lamp). The spring make fish fly higher into the air and the antigravity helps them to fall slower. This combination allows for maximum air time and more shooting. The toaster and hairdryer are mulligans. They let your line run into a fish on the descent without stopping. They can each be used once per descent, and shock whichever fish they run into. The tesla coil supercharges the toaster and hairdryer, which kills all visible fish when they are activated. The boot, bowling ball, and oil drum allow you to start at a deeper depth in different fishing areas (100m in Home Waters, 200m in Stormy Seas, and 300m in Arctic Floes, respectively). The two lamps let you see in the deepest, darkest, areas.

Misc: These items include the fish-o-pedia (a must-have), hats, and clothes, most of which aren’t necessary to complete the game, but can be helpful. For example, three items of clothing give you more money for each fish you catch (and shoot). The suit gives you 10% more, the wizard robe gives you 20% more, and emperor’s suit gives you 50% more. The hats are just for fun, except for the hedjet, which is needed to unlock some elusive fish.

The Fish
There are sixty-six species of fish in the game. You need to catch a certain number of species to progress to each new fishing area. They include traditional species like bass, sea turtles, sea horses, and jellyfish, and some non-traditional varieties as well. Each species is associated with a cash value (negative or positive). The fish-o-pedia is a necessity for figuring out which fish you need to catch, which are most valuable, which to stay away from, and how to find elusive species.

Some fish swim in schools, some move fast, some can be killed by a lure, some can’t, some are harder to shoot, and some only appear at certain times of the day. The devleopers did a fantastic job giving each species special characteristics. In addition, the design of each species is charming. This is a beautiful game.

The Last Five Fish (Spoiler Alert)
I wasted way too much time trying to catch five particular fish. Just couldn’t find them. To save you some time, here’s how to do it.

Eyefish: To catch the Eyefish, you need to buy and wear the Hedjet hat. Then go to Home Waters and you’ll find it between 120-150m.

Ankh: To catch the Ankh, you also need to be wearing the Hedjet in Home Waters. Use the toaster on the first fish you see, and then the hairdryer on the next. If you don’t do this, it won’t appear. Next, let your lure float through the Eyefish. Don’t worry, your line will go right through it and continue to descend. Finally, you should see the Ankh at between 170-190m.

Scepter: Follow the same directions as the the Ankh, except let your Ankh pass through the lure just as you did with the Eyefish. The Scepter will be located at around 220m.

C.O.G.F.: Follow the same directions as with the Scepter, allowing your lure to pass through the Eyefish, Ankh, and Scepter in the same descent. If you do, this fish will be at the bottom of Home Waters waiting for you.

Mimic Fish: This was the last fish I caught. It’s not nearly as tricky as the four above. Just fish in The Maelstrom after midnight. I guess I don’t stay up late enough. It’s called the Mimic Fish because it kind of looks like a jellyfish.

Should you buy this game? Absolutely. It’s beautiful, fun, and addictive. The old school design and music takes you back to the Game Boy. The intuitive game mechanics remind you that you’re using an iOS device. I only have one gripe with the game. Although it is a universal app, there is no iCloud syncing. That means if you start playing on your iPhone, you can’t pick up the same game on your iPad. So choose your device wisely. Ridiculous Fishing is highly recommended. Just be sure to clear your schedule for a few days.