After seeing great results over in Korea with more than three million downloads, NHN Singapore recently published Fish Island for Southeast Asia and I got the chance to try it out. Developed by Mono Studio, a group under NHN in Korea, Fish Island is a fishing game for iOS and Android that veers away from more conventional, motion-oriented mechanics in favor of a simplified button tapping approach. The company has instead chosen to focus on the visual and audio aspects of the game, evident in the game’s lush graphics, smooth animations, and rich sound effects.
The game starts you off with a choice of two avatars from either gender – but without any further customization. They are drawn in a cartoon-ish style similar to wide-eyed anime characters. True to its nature as a social game, Fish Island generously handholds the player from the beginning with a strong starting set of equipment and many effortless initial quest rewards.
The fishing process in the game is a highly simplified one that revolves solely around tapping a single button using one finger. You begin by casting out your fishing line with a simple tap. As your target takes the bait, a variation of whack-a-mole commences, requiring you to tap spots as a fish indicator passes over them within a set time limit. Get your timing right and your target’s health bar drops after every successful tap, while mistiming it causes your own health bar to diminish instead. This persists until you fully deplete the fish’s health or vice versa.
While that covers the entirety of Fish Island’s gameplay aspects, it is its wide-ranging and progressive content that might keep players staying for more. You have the option of selling your catch or displaying them in a personal aquarium which generates money at a rate dependent on the fish’s rarity. There is an RPG element to Fish Island, allowing you to gain experience and level-up your character as you reel in more catches. A large range of fishing spots can be unlocked via a combination of quest objectives and level requirements. These give you access to increasingly valuable fish which provide greater rewards.
The developers have poured a lot of effort into the content and aesthetics by offering a diverse range of fish to conquer. It somewhat reminds me of my time playing Pokemon, where the completist in me would attempt to capture every single one of them. Like in the real-life sport, the game offers the option of using different baits to increase your chances of reeling in higher quality fishes. There are also a multitude of outfits and fishing rods that provide superior stats you can either purchase through gold generation from your stable of fishes or via in-app transactions.
The aim of Fish Island is clear – simplify the gameplay experience while providing a rich multimedia experience for players to immerse themselves in. Although I personally would have preferred a more complex and challenging system for bringing in my catch, this approach is a good fit for anyone looking for a casual experience while unlocking new portions of the game.
(Editing by Steven Millward)