On the Cheap – Ridiculous Fishing

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On the Cheap is Squinshee’s regular gander at inexpensive or free games.

Ridiculous Fishing (iOS)
Developer: Vlambeer
Price: $3

“Any kind! Any shape! Any color or size!” imagines a young Marco from Dr. Seuss’s McElligot’s Pool, as his lure bobs in a puddle without a nibble. “I might catch some fish that would open your eyes!” The thought of snagging a rare breed or an abnormally plump tuna spurs enthusiasts to sit for hours in silence. Corona in one hand and a dangling rod in the other, fishing is a sport of recreation with moments of reeling drama.

Ridiculous Fishing shifts the perspective from a buzzed Mainer guzzling a warm beer to a hook without bait. You control the spiked fish magnet as it descends into vertical bodies of water swarming with sea animals. Maneuvering feels counterintuitive, because you want to weave around the gilled creatures, swaying your device to reach further depths. If you touch a fish or the bedrock, the line gets pulled, so now’s your chance to grab those snails, cuttlefish, and crabs dodged earlier. Watch as the collected fish cluster on the hook, dangling like a ring of janitor keys (beware of jellyfish). Once out of the water, your fishy plunder launches into the sky. You then ridiculously juggle it to death with pistols, machine guns, and even rocket launchers.

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Killing fish reaps you cash for upgrades, which cannibalizes progress. Can’t see ahead of you? You better purchase a lantern. Line isn’t long enough? You better purchase a 500-meter reel. After playing long enough, there are no new guns, hooks, or accessories left to buy, which makes collecting and shooting fish pointless (unless you care about leaderboards). This system mars longevity, but this colorfully angular style—in stark contrast to the loopy and drippy works of Seuss—is compelling. Even more so is the Fish-o-pedia, which holds blank entries for the elusive beasts that Marco couldn’t dream of.

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