The ocean is a beautiful and alluring place; it hides many secrets and is home to billions of life forms. For all of us, it brings life and hope as the sea provides us with oxygen to breathe and food to eat. This is where our brave fishermen come in. They sail into dangers unknown with one goal: bring back a full quota of fish to feed hundreds and be paid handsomely in return. This is the reality in Fishing – North Atlantic. You are the captain of a vessel that aims to catch as many fish while making yourself rich.
Developed and published by Misc Games, this is a sandbox open-world simulation title. Set in the large ocean in Nova Scotia, you are free to explore the vast space in front of you. With an array of fishing methods to try, boats to purchase, and crew to hire, this is as advance or rudimentary as you like.
Fishing – North Atlantic is brilliant, addictive, but full of game-breaking bugs.
I can’t hide that I love this game! It’s addictive, full of intricate details, and brilliantly relaxing. But it’s also painful, unpolished, and full of game-breaking bugs. I’ve never saved so much in my life as I quickly discovered it can stop working at any time and with it, my progress was wiped. It tarnishes such a great experience and makes writing this review so much harder. Fishing – North Atlantic should be heaped with praise, and it will for its good elements, however, broken titles should not make it past the beta stage.
You will find issues with almost all elements of the gameplay. Whether it’s visual glitches, attempting to manage your crew, or trying to catch fish, they are all laced with bugs. Whenever anything goes wrong, you’ll have to save, force close the title, and reload in. This resolves every issue, but it’s painfully frustrating and breaks up both the fun and the immersive nature of this title. On top of this, you will encounter random crashes to the dashboard. You’ll be happily hauling in fish and suddenly the screen goes blank. The game has crashed and all your progress is lost, sad times indeed.
I will highlight specific issues as I cover this review, but for now, let’s look at what makes this great and why people put up with its many faults.
So much detail!
When you take on a simulation title you want it to be realistic and to transport you into the protagonist’s role. Fishing – North Atlantic does just that! With vast amounts of details to take in, fishing spots to discover, and a large map to explore, you are spoilt for choice. You must understand how the seasons affect each species, manage how you fish each location to ensure it remains productive, and hire the right crew. Balancing the books is essential, as is purchasing the correct boat. You’ll feel you’re juggling a million balls, yet it’s not that complicated to play once you get over the steep learning curve.
Though you are given thorough tutorials for every aspect of the gameplay, you’ll still be in the dark about many of the fine details. There is an element of trial and error, but using the ports is key to early progress. Here you will be given helpful tips and missions to complete. The hints tell you of locations of different fish, simply load up your boat with the correct tackle and bait and try to land them. The missions, however, are time-consuming. Your slow vessel will chug from point a to b with no ability to speed things up. It’s a pleasant way to explore the ocean, but it takes forever!
Quotas and time-wasting.
I was amazed by the level of detail that Misc Games went into. With a large variety of fish to catch, you must make sure you have the correct tools at hand to be successful. Yet, having the right gear is only half the job as you must also complete a mini-game style challenge when landing the fish. With four outcomes you’ll aim for perfection each time. Red is a complete failure, orange is ok, green is good, and blue is perfect. The closer you are to blue, the better quality your fish are. Your boat only holds a finite amount of stock, so fishing willy-nilly is not advised! You will simply throw away excess stock if you exceed your quota or your storage. This was brilliant, as it forced you to plan each journey and added to the realism factor.
You quickly realise that Fishing – North Atlantic is a time-consuming beast. Everything takes time, from setting the lines, gutting the fish, to sailing. On top of this, you simply waste time waiting for fish to take the bait. It’s extremely slow-paced and relaxing and not the sort of game that can be played in short bursts. If you can get over the many issues, you’ll lose hours of your life catching virtual fish. It’s pretty mundane and repetitive, but I loved it.
Fishing – North Atlantic has sparks of beauty, but tons of rough patches!
There were moments where I was blown away by the beauty before me. The sun setting making the sky and sea appear on fire with burning hot amber. It was stunning to look at, especially when your small boat bobbed around on a vast ocean with no one else for miles around. Beware, though, as this beauty is short-lived!
The visual issues range from hilarious to downright appalling. Fish judder, making them impossible to catch, and when you haul them in, they are pulled through the side of the boat. Your crew complete their tasks, yet they never touch the fish. You get caught on every part of your boat and best of all once you land a fish using the deep line method your character becomes headless. These are but a small portion of the issues I encountered and some of them will amuse, but most ruin the game and desperately need to be resolved.
Unlike the graphics that are laced with problems, the audio was perfect. With limited music, you spend your days accompanied by the sounds of the sea. The relaxing sound effects are fantastic and range from the rainwater crashing down to the waves breaking on your hull. It never got tiresome and this is one element that Misc Games delivered to a high standard.
Easy to understand controls but the bugs bite again.
With so much detail and having ported from PC, this had the potential to be a pig to play. Fortunately, it wasn’t, and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to learn the basics. A clever radial menu and a well-labelled map ensure you know what you are doing from the start. The well-designed UI kept clutter to a minimum while giving you enough information to make important decisions.
Frustratingly, the bugs undermine this element as well. Crew management failed regularly, preventing you from automating your endeavours. The jittery fish and poor hits boxes made some methods of fishing impossible. You were forced to use NPCs (when it worked) to complete these tasks, leaving you frustrated and annoyed regularly. Trying to select anything while the boat was moving was nearly impossible. I suspect using a mouse and keyboard would eliminate many of these issues as the controller is not accurate enough.
Even with its long list of faults and repetitive gameplay, I still wanted to keep playing. Its many complex layers make it moreish and you’ll want to try different approaches to maximise your yield. A large achievement list of over forty tasks will take a considerable amount of time to complete. If you plan on attempting the 100% status it’ll be difficult and will require many hours of grinding.
Fishing – North Atlantic is brilliant but you can’t ignore its bugs.
I desperately wanted to give this a high score, but I can’t. If it wasn’t riddled with bugs, it would be an easy 8 out of 10, sadly its problems drag it down. With addictive in-depth content, a large map to explore, plenty to discover, and lots of fishing methods you are spoilt for choice. But the glitches and bugs cannot be ignored and Misc Games need to work on updates to eliminate these issues. I loved it, but with so many problems I can’t recommend it. You can buy it here if you want to try it for yourself! Can you brave the ocean and bring home a massive haul? Beware the horrendous storms and game-breaking bugs while you land your catch!