Fishing Freaks Bass Rise – Wonderswan
Release Date: February 24, 2000
Nerd Rating: 7 out of 10
Reviewed by Dovahkyle
Fishing Freaks Bass Rise is a fishing game for a Japanese handheld game console. This handheld was never released outside of Japan, and it fetched the tiny price tag of ¥4,800 ($47.18). Because of Wonderswan being Japanese only, I have had a lot of trouble figuring out what I am supposed to be doing in most of the games I’ve tried, as reading Japanese is not one of my skills. I found that the best thing for me to do was to play a game that didn’t require me to read anything. This is how I am writing a review on a fishing game, which I honestly have never done, nor have I ever even played one. I am a gamer, and I do love fishing with my daughters, but I do not usually enjoy fishing in the virtual world. I typically play games that allow me to escape reality, not replicate it, so this is out of my usual realm of gaming.
Pick your lures, reel, and location
I have no idea what settings I chose to get through the introduction menus. For all I know I chose the hardest difficulty, and I was on practice mode. I do know that I talked to a girl from a sporting shop of some kind that pulled out a tackle box. I had to chose all kinds of lures, worms, and jigs to fill my own box. After that I had to chose a reel that tickled my fancy. The reels were labeled in English for some reason, and I picked one that was labeled “Power-Heavy.” After I was all packed up with fishing goods, I had to chose a location on the lake. Then the fishing starts.
I was able to change my lures as I pleased, however often I wanted. Then I was presented with an over-world view of the lake directly in front of my fisherman, where I could use the target to choose a location to cast my lure. When moving the target around the lake, I could see shadows of fish swimming around. To cast, there is a meter in the top right of the screen that showed a sweet spot. I found when I hit the cast button (which took a while to figure out) that the little bar would run up and down the meter really fast. If I timed it correctly, I could hit the cast button again, right in that sweet spot, and the fisherman would cast the lure right on the location that I had previously targeted. Then I could reel the lure in slow or fast to try to draw out a keeper.
I will say my luck on the game is about the same as reality. On Boerne Lake here in South Texas, I can spend the first few hours trying out all kinds of cool lures. When I finally put a night-crawler on my hook, that’s when I will catch something. The game was the same way. I used every lure in my tackle box, until I finally decided to try out the worm. BAM! You got a hit! And as many hits as I got on those worms, I could not for the life of me reel one all the way in. It was tricky to say the least. I probably chose some ungodly hard difficulty in my inability to understand the Japanese language.
Totally depends on which way you hold it
The Wonderswan has the strangest control scheme. When the console is held horizontally, there are two directional pads on the left side with two action buttons on the right. When held vertically, like in this game, one of the D-pads becomes the action buttons and the other is for actual directional controls. This is a hundred times harder when using an emulator key-mapped on a keyboard. I finally deciphered what I was supposed to be doing to be a successful caster, not fisherman, because I couldn’t catch anything, but I am now a very effective caster. I can hook a fish like the best of them, I just can’t close. Fishing Freaks Bass Rise allows the player full control of the bait. The player can reel in slow, fast, pull one direction or the other, and there is a button to allow the player to reel the bait in fast to re-cast. Even though I didn’t fully reel in a fish, I really did have a lot of fun with this.
The Bandai Wonderswan is a 16-bit, black and white handheld with limited graphical abilities. The pixel work on this game is good enough to let the player know what he or she is looking at, although I could see why it wasn’t competitive in North America. It felt like these were just barely better than Nintendo Game Boy quality graphics, and that was released a decade earlier. The sound is great on the other hand; while there’s no music, the sound effects are pretty realistic. The water sound from the lure splashing down gave me the feeling that I’m right out on the lake, slapping mosquitoes, and spitting sunflower seeds.
Sick of fishing? Nah, can’t happen bro
I am not done with this game by a long shot. I am going to use some Google translator to figure out what the heck those menus are talking about. I am determined to catch a big ol’ keeper one of these days. The replayability is definitely high on this one. If I actually gained the ability to catch one, I know I’d be hooked (ha, get it). Plus there are many locations within locations on this lake, and there are tons of lures, baits, and reels to choose from. Although I can’t say it’s easy to track down one of these consoles or any of the games for it, I would suggest at least trying out the emulator. It works great, and it’s a lot easier to come by, as it’s freeware. It’s always neat playing these oddball consoles and games that no one has ever heard of, from my area anyways.
*Note: All screenshots were captured with the in-app screenshot function of the Oswan Emulator.
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