Kick back, relax, and catch some fish.

Title: Ultimate Fishing Simulator
Platform: Android, PC (reviewed)
Developer: Ultimate Games, Bit Golem
Publisher: PlayWay, Ultimate Games S.A.
Price: PC: £15/$20
Android: Free to play, with in app purchases
Release Date: Out now
TL;DR: Great, if you like fishing.
Family Focus: Click here for more information.

Fishing is one of those things that seems like the pinnacle of relaxation; sit in your camping chair, bring a buddy, a six pack of beer, and then sit there with a rod all day and don’t catch anything. Now, you don’t even have to do that; Ultimate Fishing Simulator has made its way to PC, after its original debut on Android phones, and it’s the perfect way to while away a few hours – but only if you’re really hardcore into fishing.

As it says on the tin, Ultimate Fishing Simulator will take you through twelve different fisheries, each stocked with its own marine life, just waiting to be caught. Though I did have to turn the graphics settings down so my laptop can handle it, there’s no doubt that the environments in this game are absolutely stunning, from the valleys with the snow-capped mountains in the distance, to the howling open ocean, to the very chilly ice fishing. It makes you feel like you’ve been dropped into an exotic location – it certainly jazzes it up from fishing in the same brown river or lake.

The in game radio is also a nice touch, since there’s no background music (or any real sound at all, apart from the odd bird call) at the fisheries, and the game will channel some online radio stations. I managed to find German pop music, and it really did make the game cheerier, humming along to songs I had zero comprehension of, all while I fumbled about with the fishing rod.

The issue with Ultimate Fishing Simulator is that, much like a lot of simulation games, it’s made for experts of the hobby. With games like Two Point Hospital or Jurassic World Evolution, these are the less “hardcore,” simulators (though don’t let the JP fans hear you say that), and as a result, it’s easy for everyone to access, with extensive tutorials, easily usable interfaces, and is generally designed to ease you into the game. Much like my experience last year with Farming Simulator 17, there’s a steep learning curve for those who have never picked up a fishing rod in their life. There’s very little in the way of tutorials, with just a text box with a brief overview of each technique popping up on the screen. Effectively reeling in and catching fish, as well as the nuances of all the equipment, is left solely to trial and error, and when mixed with an awkward, unintuitive user interface that isn’t fully controller supported isn’t a lot of help.

The equipment, especially, is a sticking point here, because the best hook sizes and rods and lures are all laid out like you would find them in any old fishing shop – which means nothing to the average player. It’s all well and good telling me that I need this size hook, or a certain type of lure, but since the lingo isn’t watered down enough for casual fans to understand, you wind up flying blind more than a little, clicking and hoping and wasting your money. Though there are tournaments in the game, which lets you link up with other players on the servers and catch a certain number of fish in a specific time frame, the game feels very repetitive, which may sound like a silly thing to say when you’re playing a game about fishing. You throw a line, you wait, you haul a fish in, hooray! Now we sell it, rake some cash in to get that other line and then… we do it all over again.

But at least there are funny profile pictures.

Ultimate Fishing Simulator is definitely one for those who already know what they’re doing. If you’re heavily invested enough into this kind of hobby that you’d like to do it in your off time, then there’s a good chance you’ll like this game. There’s a lot of variety in equipment, fish, locations, and a ton of attention to detail – something fishing aficionados will definitely love to sink their teeth into, especially for the price. For casual fans, it’s either going to be the discovery of a newfound love, or a complete turn-off, because there’s only so many times you can reel in fish before it becomes tedious. While the tournaments, the ability to talk to other players, and the trophy room offer a lot of content, it’s not a game I’d recommend unless you really love the sport.

The Good

  • Beautiful environment.
  • Great value for money.
  • Intricately detailed.

The Bad

  • Repetitive gameplay.
  • Lack of tutorials and controller support for menus. 
  • Not very accessible to newbies.

Family Focus

Ultimate Fishing Simulator is not yet rated by PEGI or the ESRB. It’s a fishing simulator and totally inoffensive, so I would call this fine for all ages.

Disclaimer: This review is based on a review code provided by the publisher for the purposes of this review.