It’s not every day you get enjoy the pleasures of fishing in your own living room but Rapala Fishing: Pro Series lets you do just that! In what is essentially a beefed up mobile game on your console, Rapala does a pretty great job at reeling you in, hook, line and sinker. With simple gameplay and a variety of game options from solo play to online tournaments and challenges, Rapala offers up a scaled back fishing experience with which to invest your time.
That’s a whopper!
The object of the game is quite simply to become a pro angler by filling your coffers with coin earned in a solo experience, by completing challenges to then be able to compete in tournaments against the AI. Solo Play is where you will spend most of your time completing said challenges and honestly, it can become a bit of a grind. You start out with a simple lure of which you have an unlimited amount, but this will only allow you to catch the most basic of fish, and small ones at that. Each challenge you complete, be it catching a certain number of a particular fish, or hauling in a set weight of another, will earn you money to purchase new lures, rods, boats, fish finders or cosmetic changes for your character. Solo Play is free to enter and there are six lakes to choose from, each harbouring different species and providing three challenges upon entry. These challenges will reward $5-$40 depending on the difficulty and new challenges will be available once the previous ones have been met.
Tournament play is where you will find a true pro angler experience, battling against the AI to catch the three biggest fish with a set time limit. This mode is essentially the career section with each new tournament becoming progressively harder than the last. It’s in this mode that I really found true enjoyment with Rapala and became addicted to the idea of just one more fish. In each lake there are monster fish that are extremely hard to catch, especially if you are using a basic rod and line. The sheer thrill of hooking a monster is indescribable and the heartbreak of snapping your best $30 lure on that sucker was too much for me to handle at one stage. I had been battling with this monster of a Spotted Bass for the best part of 20 minutes and had come ridiculously close to catching it on a number of occasions, only to have my lure snap and ol’ Spotty turn into ‘the one that got away’.
Gameplay mechanics for this game are extremely simple yet quite effective in delivering a true fishing experience. Each lure you use has a four button D-pad combination that must be discovered upon first use. Once you’ve unlocked the pattern this can be used to attract the particular type of fish that are attracted to the lure you’re using.
Hitting that sweet spot.
Coming in hot.
Once hooked, R2 is used to reel the fish in but only when it is in the green zone, which sits firmly inside a box in the middle of your screen. Reel too hard outside of this box and the line is likely to snap, losing you both fish and lure in the process. As you upgrade your equipment the process becomes far easier and you can start to make some good money.
The graphics in Rapala are akin to what you might find in the mobile game with everything just looking a little blurry and unrefined. There’s also a bit of a disconnect in the difficulty throughout the experience. The grind (oh the grind) in the first part of the game when you are trying to buy new lures and upgrade your equipment borders on tedious, but I soon found that once I placed second overall in a series of tournaments I was given the best boat, fish finder and rod making everything from there seem like child’s play. Replayability of this title appears to be quite limited past the initial playthrough, however there is a daily challenges section that allows you to complete with others from around the world if that tickles your fancy.
Overall, Rapala Fishing: Pro Series offers an at times relaxing, at other times frustrating yet rewarding experience that will appeal to fishing enthusiasts or those looking for a bit of arcade-like fun. The quest for the best fish in order to unlock better gear is a challenge at first and somewhat of a grind which kept me coming back, but once I had been gifted the best equipment in the game and effectively bypassed everything in-between I lost interest pretty quickly.
Reviewed on PS4