Not fluff-chucking for rainbows, I’m talking virtual angling for some of the greatest carp in the land.
Let me be very clear: I’m no gamer. In fact the last console I owned was a Sega Mega Drive! That’s not to say I’ve never played any games in the last 20 years; no, I’ve had my arse kicked by my son on many occasions and can often be found sulking after an hour of Mario Cart World or Splatoon.
Late last year, however, I used my son’s Steam account on the PC to download Euro Fishing from Dovetail Games. I enjoyed the concept of the game, but was severely let down by the performance of my PC. So, when I heard they were launching the game for the Xbox One, and better still Darren Nokes of Dovetail Games was coming up from Kent to our Yorkshire office to demonstrate the game on the console, I was very excited. If nothing else it meant there would be a spread of food for our guest, which I could help him consume!
Darren arrived armed with his developer’s Xbox One and we set about running through the tutorials. Once I’d learnt to claim a swim, cast out and bait up, it was time to put my new-found skills to use. Naturally I opted for St John’s on the Linear Fisheries complex and, after a wander about (yes, you really can walk about looking for signs of fish), I opted for a swim halfway along the social bank.
The reality of the gameplay is excellent. You can pick your rigs to suit the type of lake bed you’re fishing over; in fact once you’ve earned enough points, you can customise your rods, reels, rigs and bait. Knowing I would be most likely be fishing over silt and gravel, I opted for rigs suitable for these substrates along with Mainline boilies and some imitation baits from Korda and Enterprise. Casting out the three rods using the new power bar method is so easy compared to the old, “advance casting” method. You can even clip up your fishing rods at a set distance and then suitably match the distance of your spod rod so that everything is tight and accurate. I have to doff my cap to those involved in designing and developing the game; it’s these realistic little details that make the game play of Euro Fishing so much more realistic and enjoyable.
With three rods out and a little munga (I had no idea what was in the spod!) spread over the top, I didn’t have to wait long before my first rod was away. Unfortunately, I soon lost this fish, just like I did the next five takes – the game play really is realistic! Eventually, though, I mastered the controls (or maybe the game took pity on me) and I had my first virtual carp in the net. Relief or elation, I was happy to mark this milestone, but before I had chance to revel in the moment one of the other rods was away and I lost that too! The next few hours were spent catching several more carp – I had three on at one point, which was a bit hectic. I then ran through the same rigmarole with my colleagues, Bev Clifford and Paddy Webb, both of whom seemed to get to grips with the controls much quicker than myself and soon had fish of their own on the bank.
Looking back at my Euro Fishing experience I can really see how people could become absorbed by the gameplay. With plenty of incentives to keep you motivated, the ability to visit different venues, target lots of different ‘Boss Fish’, all whilst building your repertoire of skills and available equipment, plus daily challenges and tournament multiplayer interactivity, I can see the game being hugely popular with a mixture of anglers and non-anglers alike. Euro Fishing from Dovetail Games is available for the Xbox One and can be downloaded from the Xbox marketplace for just £14.99. Visit www.xbox.com, or to download the game to your PC visit www.dtgfishing.com.