Rapala Tournament Fishing Review (Wii)

Posted by | July 20, 2007

Overall Score: 6/10
Graphics: 7/10
Sound: 5/10
Gameplay: 6/10

If you’re looking for a fishing game that takes full advantage of the Wii’s capabilities, you’ll be disappointed in Rapala Tournament Fishing for Nintendo Wii. Although it has the potential to simulate a realistic fishing experience, the game falls short on several areas.

On the plus side, the game offers a lot of information on real fishing in the extras area, but not a lot of that is used in-game. As it is sponsered by Rapala brand lures, the focus is on the marketing aspect, and not necessarily on gameplay itself.

I played this game while listening to an audio book or while watching TV using picture in picture. I think that’s the main reason I enjoyed it as much as I did. Your mileage may vary. It’s very relaxing but extremely repetitive if you don’t have something else going on to occupy your brain. Needless to say, I didn’t have the sound on most of the time so there may be a lot of repetitive narrative. On the other hand, the Wiimote itself mimics the vibration and sounds of a fishing rod, so that aspect is appealing. Since I rented the game, I didn’t know I was supposed to plug in the nunchuck controller, so I played by just pressing the “A” button. It may or may not have been more engrossing if I actually mimiced reeling the fish in. I would probably just end up with sore arms and like the game even less.

Slightly Challenging
Once you get the basics down, you can only do so much with the apparent glitches. The Wiimote can become unresponsive, and your lure can get “stuck” in the water. Fish will find and bite almost everything. Although you can spend some time finding the sweet spot, once you do the challenge is over, and it’s everlasting fish.

Although it may make it more like real fishing, I found the lack of variety of fish in each location rather boring. More fish should have been an unlockable bonus.

It was nice to experiment with the different types of lures, but beyond color, it was all about how the lure acted in the water: floating, suspending, or sinking, and how fast it is to reel in. There was a lot of information about what the lures did in the real world, but little of that related to playing the game.

Really, there were too many lures that did the same things. Unless you like the challenge of unlocking lures, there’s not much benefit in doing so. Some of these lures may have caught more fish, but not necessarily bigger fish – or it could have been a coincidence.

You can also chose line weight, which lets you land bigger fish. But even the strongest line will snap on a small (looking) fish if the Wiimote goes unresponsive and you can’t reel it in.

You can also adjust the drag, but I really didn’t know what that was for, since I didn’t have the manual. A demo of how things work (instead of video extras on Rapala gadgets) would have been extremely helpful.

And there is also a weird button-pushing mini-game you have to go through to land the bigger fish. It gets more complicated the bigger the fish is.

Let’s not forget the quizzes while the game loads. These are all about lures… specifically Rapala lures. I hope you know what color boxes their lures come in! Answer the questions correctly and you unlock videos and lures.

Graphics Not to Scale
Every fish you catch will look huge before you hook it. The camera angles will tilt and zoom and that huge whopper turns into a small-fry when you land it. However, the scenery is very beautiful and if you decide to continue playing, you have a choice of different locations to fish.

Some of the biggest fish in the game are really impressive as you drag them out of the water – Peacock Bass in the Amazon, Nile Perch in Africa – with superhuman strength. If only more detail had been put into skill (and correspondingly, into good motion sensing).

Unresponsive & Clunky
The controls, other than the sounds and vibration, are kinda bad. Unless there was something from the manual I was supposed to be doing but wasn’t, the whole fishing experience was glitchy and lagged. At times I would be trying to reel in the fish or just the lure with no progress, necessitating wild flailing and bobbing of the “rod”. The line would stall when reeling in the fish, and it seemed very out of sync with the Wiimote. The tension of the line didn’t match up with what the fish was doing. This, by far, was the worst aspect of the game.

Little Replay Value
After unlocking all the tournaments, you may find yourself never wanting to play this game again. You won’t be compelled to beat your last score – it’s just not fun anymore. There’s no online option, so you can’t play or share your scores.

Changing the game modes (weather, skill level, etc.) can add some interest, but in reality it didn’t seem that the weather affected gameplay. You could only use Rapala brand lures, so no live baits or flies.

If you absolutely love real-world fishing, you may find more lasting enjoyment with the game. It offers a lot of info and video – mostly about Rapala lures!

Tips
While the lures do look and act differently as you play, it seems that just about every fish will bite the “better” lures that you unlock. So you basically should choose the lure for the depth/environment you are fishing in, and not to the fish. They’ll bite anything.

Once you find the fishing sweet spots, stick around to catch fish. In tournaments, the time you spend driving the boat is better used to fish!

The best fishing spots usually look a little bit different, and may vary by fish species. Usually a cliff with vegetation hanging over it, or an out of the way spot. You don’t get a map for the locations, so you just have to remember where to go.

Don’t forget to vary the tension if the fish is fighting back! That being said, the line may snap if you’ve used a thin wire to hook a big one. (It took me a while to figure that one out.)

Conclusion
This is worth the rent. Play it for a few days, catch a lot of fish. If you see it in a bargain bin, buy it if you are into fishing games. I wouldn’t recommend paying full price for it, unless you’ve bought every other Wii game and want the complete set.


Get your fish on, buy it now!


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