Some people relax by heading out into the wilds to sit in a boat and wait patiently for something to nibble on their bait. But who has time to sit in a boat for the real thing in this day and age? We need our relaxation, and we need it now! Luckily, fishing games fill this very void, and during the 2011 Electronic Entertainment Expo, we managed to get our hands on Reel Fishing Paradise 3D, a title that takes the tried-and-true formula of plucking sea life from nature's loving bosom, and then saves you the guilt of eating or mounting your catch (on a wall, you sicko!) by instead providing the opportunity to keep them as pets.
Like most of the other similar games currently available, you begin by first selecting where you want to fish. These locations range from open water to bridge-covered streams and from rocky outcrops to swampy mangroves. Naturally, the fish you're trying to land vary from spot to spot, and our demo guide explained that part of the fun was not necessarily knowing what could be lurking below. "Lure recommendation" takes all of the guesswork out of fishing, and while you can buck the trend and pick one that's less effective, each lure is given a corresponding star rating to let you know which one best increases your chance of landing the big one. There's no line weight to consider, so you won't have the illusion destroyed by a snapped line when you try to reel in something heftier than your gear can cater to.
The top screen shows your fishing spot (in 3D if you so choose) with almost photo-realistic images, while the bottom screen, the one where all the action happens, uses more stylised graphics and animated characters. Getting in the water is as simple as selecting a direction to cast in and then tapping the touch screen or pressing a button. We're disappointed that there's no option to flick your handheld console forward to launch, using the device's accelerometer and gyroscopes to get you up and running, but this system is much safer in slippery hands. Once you're bobbing, the gameplay should be familiar to anyone who has played a fishing game. You must manage the tackle line tension while slowly winding in your prey.
If you do manage to get your catch into the boat, you'll be given size and weight comparisons, as well as the option to either return it to the water and continue fishing or plonk it into your virtual aquarium. There are three slots each for freshwater and saltwater fish, and you can unlock trinkets and accessories, such as castles and pirate ships, over the course of the game to dress up their home.
Virtual anglers can trawl the murky depths when Reel Fishing Paradise 3D flops into the 3DS net later this month.