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Catching scads of fish at once and then blasting them with a firearm as they're launched into the sky? It sounds like dumb fun – and it is, at first – but also potentially a flimsy gag concept intended only for shock and momentary diversion. Luckily, there's much more beneath the surface of Ridiculous Fishing, and that's not simply an easy water pun. It's the difference between a game designed for laughs and an experience made with heart, and the distinction between a title you'll pull out for moments and one that'll command your attention as you plunge into the vivid depths.
Ridiculous Fishing has the skill-based soul of a classic arcade game. Casting your line below the boat, you'll tilt your iOS device to not initially snag the dozens of distinct fish floating below, but rather avoid them. Reaching the deepest point possible is the first goal, and then it's on the way up that you'll aim to hook as many fish as possible. Hundreds of pounds of fish on a single line? If the title wasn't any indication, Ridiculous Fishing isn't exactly a simulation.
That's quickly confirmed when the line finally reaches the surface, the myriad undersea creatures are flung high into the air, and you're tasked with gunning them down. Doing so earns cash, which you'll pump into additional firearms (like shotguns and a bazooka), longer lines, special apparel, and even a chainsaw-like lure that'll carve through any unlucky fish in its path – and this is all done without a hint of in-app purchases. You might think that the repetitive act of catching and shooting fish would only lose its edge with more powerful weapons and tools, but it's quite the opposite: Ridiculous Fishing only becomes more enrapturing with each enhancement, and there's a joyous thrill to the cartoonish carnage that never dissipates.
What's wrapped around the core fishing approach is more than mere window dressing. Ridiculous Fishing has come a long way from its Flash game origins, ditching the crude original scribbles for a divine visual aesthetic built on hard angles and bright colors, with excellent original tunes backing both the menus and action. Add to that an unexpectedly emotional ending sequence, a faux social networking service that brings amusing story bits, and cameo appearances by various indie icons and the game simply gushes with charm and appeal.
Bolstered by the endless mode that unlocks later on, it makes for a exuberant experience that continues to delight for hours and days and potentially weeks. Even with the breezy concept and brief play sessions, Ridiculous Fishing takes a little while to truly get its hook into you – but once it does, you'll be happily ensnared by one of the most purely entertaining iOS games to date.
The bottom line. Ridiculous Fishing is absurdly fun and seriously memorable.
iPad, iPod touch, or iPhone running iOS 5.0 or later
Delightful core gameplay loop with stellar tilt controls. Stunning art design and music. Great sense of humor and warmth to the storytelling. Endless mode and cameo catches keep things interesting down the line.
Wish we could empty our wallets on premium weapon upgrades – just kidding.