Catch and Release Review (PSVR)
For the purposes of transparency, this review was created using a code provided by the company or their respective PR company. The use of a review code does not affect my judgement of the game.
We have not had a decent fishing game since SEGA Bass Fishing on the Dreamcast with the fishing reel controller, and that was height of immersion back then. Now, with the extra possibilities with VR, we have a true fishing Simulator in Catch and Release. The question is what does the game bring?
Catch and Release does everything you would want a fishing simulator to do with it’s gameplay, and much more with what is possible using the VR platforms.
Obviously the main part of the gameplay is all about the fishing, and they have gone with the realistic approach, making it one of the most entertaining fishing games to date on any medium. Every part of fishing is caught perfectly with how the game works. You need to attach the bait, cast the line and do all the reeling in and work on tiring out the fish… all while managing the tension on the line to make sure your bait is not stolen.
Why this so important is because although you get one type of lure that is unlimited, it is not going to appeal to all the fish that its possible to catch. This then brings in your money management, the way you earn this money is by catching fish and either placing them in your cooler or back into the lake – which can sometimes give you more money. As well as the baits, you might want to buy a better fishing rod, scales to weigh you fish, a hat, a better cooling box, it is your choice on you handle your hard-earned money.
This then adds some more to the gameplay, because these are not all available from the get go. On your boat you will have a Diary which gives you objectives, completing this objectives unlocks more from your catalogue. But, the best thing is if you don’t want to do them and just want a relaxing game catching fish, you can do this and just rack up your stash of money. How often you tackle these objectives really is your choice, and you can still have a relaxing time playing the game. Your Dairy will also record how many of each fish you have caught and the heaviest one, meaning you can always just aim to set new records.
But there is more in the game as well, from the catalogue you can buy a camera. This will allow you to take photos of your prize catches, but also at the back of your Diary there is a number of objects and parts of wildlife you can look for a take a photo of. A nice little touch to the camera is the fact it’s a Polaroid, and in the words of Andre 3000… ‘you need to shake it like a Polaroid picture’. Also on your boat you are going to have a radio that has some licensed music on it, meaning if you want to can switch on the radio and listen to some tunes as you wait for the next bite. Or why not sit back and enjoy a sandwich or a drink?… you will also find these on your boat. They really have made sure everything is on the boat you need, to enjoy and be immersed in this fishing vacation – but all from your living room.
The team at Metricminds have then made sure the presentation keeps you immersed just as much as the gameplay. The setting of Misty Falls truly is lovely to row around and take in all the wildlife and the setting. The only slightly off-putting part is your hands are not the most realistic looking things, and the grabbing never seems to grip items correctly, they just sort of stick to them – but this is easy took past and you relax on this virtual vacation.
If you have the radio turned off, Misty Falls is brought to life enough from the noise of the lake and the surrounding wildlife. But, as previously mentioned the game comes with the radio with a soundtrack, that will keep you company on your boat. Every area of the game is made to keep you immersed in the simulation.
Catch and Release is made to be played seated, and you and sat on this boat in Misty Falls. You can only play the game with two Move controllers with each one being the corresponding hand in the game. The game does not need many of the buttons but that is a great thing, as it keeps you in the game and in that fishing mentality. Your triggers are to grab anything you need be it the rod, the bait, the reel or the ores for the boat, the Move button releases more line for the moments with the tension on rod. The other buttons are used to switch the pages in the diary or the catalogue, to open the cooler lid and shut it.
In the most part the tracking works on the PlayStation VR version, but the cooler is where the tracking issues show their face – this could be why they have the open and close button option. You can do the cooler lid manually but this is constantly behind you, mean turning to do this can make the camera lose the Move controller. I found I normally just went with the button option.
The game really has an endless play time, it really is something you can just throw on and relax to – it doesn’t matter if you have completed all the objectives and unlocked everything in the catalogue. Even as someone who does not really hold an interest in fishing, I found myself spending hours at time on Misty Falls – and the time flew by.
Catch and Release is described by the developers as ‘Just you. On a lake’ and never has a tag line been so perfect. The game brings some outstanding immersion through everything it does with the gameplay and presentation. It brings with it an endless play time, and I have spent many of hours in it without even realising. You really should find time to grab your fishing rod, cast out that line and sit back listening to the radio on Misty Falls.
Also available on HTC Vive and Oculus Rift
Buy on the PlayStation Store