Fishing Planet is a very enjoyable and relaxing game

If you're a keen angler and it looks cold outside, making you feel a day fishing from the sofa would be a better idea, this is the experience for you. It may not win over huge amounts of new gamers to become anglers, but the curious amongst you should also give it a thought, especially since it ushers newbies into the experience with care.

Starting life as a free-to-play title, with everything hidden away behind microtransactions, The Fisherman – Fishing Planet is the latest edition of the game, collecting all the DLC into a single package, and reworking the way that the in-game economy works. But more to the point it also adds some extra goodies in the shape of boats, fish species and so on. However, can this game now supplant the ruler? Strap on your waders and let’s find out!

When you first start, a tutorial guides you through the basics of angling and how to assemble equipment and catch fish in the initial location, a private pond in Texas. Catching fish and completing objectives award a combination of XP, regular currency, and potentially Baitcoins. Each time you level up, you unlock the ability to buy new equipment from the impressive in-game shop and new waterways will become available for use.

The game looks great, although graphics aren’t the be all and end all of simulations games, they certainly help with setting the scene and adding to the immersion. I loved the weather effects (which also affect the fishing mechanics). The fish themselves look well modelled and you even get water splashes on your screen! The shadow of you player looks a bit off at times but can be forgiven for what little you see of it whilst fishing.

There are four main styles of fishing in The Fisherman, covering a range of options. Bottom fishing sees you using either a weight or a swimfeeder to fish a bait hard on the bottom, and relies on watching the end of the rod in order to see if there is a bite, sometimes in conjunction with a bell to give you an audible warning. Float fishing is a technique where the bait is suspended beneath a “bobber”, watched closely to see if there is a bite. Spinning involves trying to make an inanimate piece of metal and plastic resemble a wounded fish, making it irresistible to predators; there are many different retrieval patterns with spinners, from stop ‘n go to straight retrieves, and each different way seems to attract a different species. The last fishing method is trolling, which is when one of the artificial lures mentioned previously is towed behind a boat, again in hope of fooling a fish into thinking an easy meal is escaping.

Apart from that, the rest of the in-game action looks solid, with the fish also looking great, and the animation on the float looked genuine. The atmospheric sounds were also calming and really worked to help build the experience, which we'd say is important for the hobby.

The Fishing Planet is a very enjoyable and relaxing game, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time playing it. As a new player, I can recommend it, for the initial purchase you get a lot of game for the money and the removal of the microtransactions and the reworked economy make for a much more enjoyable and relaxing game, which in my eyes a fishing game should be.

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