Is there something triumphant about the way Vlambeer’s angular angler yanks his haul from the ocean, or does Ridiculous Fishing’s troubled gestation just make it feel that way? Dredged up from the murky depths of development hell with the help from Zach Gage and Greg Wohlwend, it has, by happenstance, become the product of an indie supergroup, though the indulgence that term traditionally evokes is entirely absent. Neither does it feel like a game that almost finished the studio that made it, after Gamenauts stole its thunder – and nearly all of its ideas – with the shameless clone Ninja Fishing.
This is, ultimately, a simple little smartphone title, modest in its ambitions. That isn’t to say it’s a minor release, merely that it’s a much smaller game than the story surrounding it. You tilt to guide your hook as it descends, and do the same to collect fish as it rapidly climbs, dodging the jellyfish that reduce the value of your catch. Dragging them from the sea isn’t enough; you only earn money by shooting them with ordnance that grows more powerful as your wallet fattens.
Said income can also be spent on upgrades that extend your line, or bladed lures that turn fish into chum on contact, a single finger powering it through the depths until you run out of fuel. Then, as a bazooka blasts an airborne shoal into fishy chunks, you sense a raised fist, or perhaps a defiant middle finger extended in the direction of Gamenauts. Vlambeer’s game is, as its title suggests, ridiculous. In its simple, gleeful rhythms of play, it’s sublime, too.
Ridiculous Fishing is available on the App Store for £1.99 / $2.99.