Game: Fishing: Barents Sea Complete Edition
Genre: Simulation Game
System: Nintendo Switch (and other major platforms)
Developers|Publishers: MiscGames| Astragon
Price: US $29.99 | AU $45.00 |CA $ 30.89|£25.99 | €29.99
Age Rating: EU 7| AU G| US E
Release Date: 11th December 2019
Review code used thanks to HomeRun PR
Fishing: Barents Sea is a boating and fishing game set in the Barent’s Sea. Which is located near Norway and Russia. The Switch version is the complete edition meaning it comes with all boats, net and crab fishing content.
There are two types of fishing in this game, the first is line fishing. You’ll head out on your boat and spread out the line. Returning some point later, with both buoys on starboard you can pick it up. The extent of the fishing is a small mini-game, where the fish will pull forward on the line and you pick them off. This is done by a circle closing it, the closer it is the better yield of fish you’ll get. In town you buy bait to attract particular fish.
After all the fish have been collected you can choose to gut them. Here you cut along the middle which is marked, a good job will increase the price. It is a little finicky with the Switch joysticks but still worth the effort. Fish can last eight days on sea, but as you upgrade you can put freezers on your boat to extended this time.
Various boat upgrades will give you a different feel of boating controls, and later boats have enough space for crew members and the ability to fish with nets. Sadly net fishing isn’t super different from line fishing.
You can drive the boat in first or third person, with your radar you uncover more of the map. This is so you can fast travel, as that is only possible through areas you have moved before. You can fast travel up to just before 100m of a fishing line. It is quite the lifesaver although other times you must go without it. Fish population can also be checked on your map to find the ideal place to set your lines.
The game has various weather conditions, seasons and fish spread and pricing depends on the month. This is all easily track-able with your log book and other options.
In towns you can repair your boat, buy upgrades like storage and radar, buy a new boat and replenish supplies. Such as new line nets, and placing bait on them. Different types of bait attract certain fish which it will show you. When docked you may also pass time, helpful in early game so you don’t have to wait for lines to be ready. Once you’ve done a bit of fishing different towns may have jobs for you. Mostly delivering certain fish to a port or cruise ship. Some prevent you from fast traveling which is very annoying but they pay handsomely. This also helps you to level up your fishing certificate which is based on how much you have manually steered the boat.
There is also a bank where you can take loans, though I never really bothered with it. Asides from some close calls, gradually building money past the early game isn’t difficult. Once you have the right boat you can hire crew, which might specialise in gutting, or fishing and you can set them to specific tasks. One important thing is to have towing insurance in case of any emergency.
As with a lot of simulation type games on the Switch, the visuals of this are awful. The performance too, with frame drops due to weather, and fairly frequent crashing. It has lots of visual issues, water clips through the boat often and it means absolutely nothing, my stove fire’s light will appear on the ocean surface and more. I also had a bug where the fishing quota box wouldn’t go away without exiting the game. There are also either invisible walls, or objects that don’t load as in some places I received hull damage from what appeared to be nothing. Often I would open the game and the rest of the world would take quite a few seconds to appear.
There are touch controls for the menu options, which is good since cycling through them quickly enough can be troublesome. Unfortunately there isn’t any touch option for gutting fish.
This game is much more of a management game than a fishing game. Making it quite niche even for this genre. I’d say the game’s about 75% boating, 20% management, 5% fishing and gutting. This mightn’t be a bad thing for those expecting it.
The main positives I can say is that once I got into the loop of things I found it hard to put down (or at least until it crashed again). Plus at its price point it has a decent length of time you can spend in it.
Yet even if this does appeal to you the Switch’s poor visuals and performance lend no reason to pick this version up.
Final verdict: I don’t like