Game review by Alexandre Trottier
Game – Big Bass Arcade: No Limit
Developer/Publisher - Big John Games
Version – 3DS eShop
ESRB Rating: ‘E’ – Everyone
Price - $6.99
Release Date – 6/13/2013
Obtained – Download code courtesy of Big John Games
Big Bass Arcade: No Limit on the Nintendo 3DS boasts 10 lakes, 7 species of fish, 9 lures, and 25 exciting events and tournaments. Despite the features and title, the game still feels pretty limited, but that’s not to say it’s not enjoyable. Read on to learn more!
You are a fisherman. Armed with your trusty fishing rod and lures, you must… well, catch fish and compete in tournaments. That’s pretty much all there is to it.
There is no story in Big Bass Arcade: No Limit, but it’s not a game that really needs one. As such, the lack of a plot doesn’t really take away from the experience.
Gameplay and Controls
In Big Bass Arcade: No Limit, fishing is made very simple. You select a lure by navigating up and down on the d-pad, press the “A” button with perfect timing to cast it, and reel it in by either spinning your stylus on the touch screen or holding the A/X buttons for variable reeling speeds.
As soon as a fish bites onto your lure, a couple of things happen. First, you have to follow random quick-time events that will have you pressing up, down, left or right on the d-pad (or pulling an icon on the touch screen in the indicated direction) in order to keep the fish from getting away. At the same time, you have to pay attention to the amount of tension on your line – if the bar maxes out, the line will snap and you will lose your fish. The tension can be controlled to a certain degree by the speed at which you’re reeling in the fish. When the fish is moving towards you, for example, you’ll want to reel in fast, but when he starts to pull away you’ll want to slow down in order to avoid losing the fish. “Fish fighting”, as it is called in the game, is actually quite fun and occasionally challenging. It definitely feels satisfying when you pull in a big one!
All nine lures control somewhat differently – some of them will sink when you reel in faster, others will float at the top of the water. Different lures work better for different kinds and sizes of fish, so paying attention to the lure you’re using is an important part about catching the fish you need.
You can also move the directional pad left and right to move your boat. I was hoping that there would be some exploration of the different lake areas that can be unlocked, but you are limited to left-and-right movement, so there’s virtually no sense of discovery beyond navigating the predetermined path to find clusters of fish, which seems like a bit of a missed opportunity.
In this game, you can compete in a variety of events. Challenge events will have you catching as many fish as you can in either five or eight-minute time intervals. Tournaments will have you catching as many of a specific kind of fish that you can within the time limit, and takes place in two rounds on two different lakes. Both modes feel very much the same, with the only differences being the types of fish you are required to catch. In Tournament mode, you never know how many fish your opponents have caught until the very end of the round, making the sense of competition somewhat diluted. As well, there are no multiplayer options or online leaderboards, so there’s no way to compete with your friends. With online leaderboards, there would be far more incentive to re-play challenges and tournaments, but as it stands you probably won’t play each event multiple times.
Different lakes are unlocked by catching certain amounts of fish in the challenge events, and new lures are primarily unlocked by catching fish. This is quite quick and easy to do, and within maximum three hours, you should have seen everything that the game has to offer.
The gameplay in Big Bass Arcade: No Limit lives up to its name to a certain extent. It certainly feels very arcade-like in the way it plays, but the game doesn’t have enough variety to keep you coming back very often. What it DOES offer is fun, and I enjoyed myself as I tried to unlock every lake and compete in multiple tournaments, but it begins to wear thin quickly when you find yourself doing the same thing over and over again.
Visuals and Sound
Just as in real life, where part of the appeal of fishing is to be able to enjoy the beautiful outdoors, I would expect a fishing game to be nice to look at, but Big Bass Arcade: No Limit looks significantly worse on the 3DS than it did on the Wii. The water effects are rather poor. In the Wii version, you could see reflections on the lake, and it made for a pretty effect, but that is not the case in this version. As well, there are several elements on each lake that could (and probably should) be animated in order to give the player something to look at, and to breathe life into the game. We know that the 3DS can produce beautiful graphics, as seen in games like Kid Icarus: Uprising and Fire Emblem: Awakening, so this is another disappointing omission from the 3DS version.
In terms of sound, you’re probably just as well-off listening to something else while you’re playing. The music is the same on each lake – a gentle theme that shifts into a faster, more upbeat song when you hook a fish, and it’s pretty unmemorable. There is some voice acting in the game, and hearing “He’s getting close” right before the fish bites is actually quite helpful, but for the most part there’s not much to listen to in the game.
Final Score:6.5 / 10
Big Bass Arcade: No Limit is an enjoyable downloadable title that would be much easier to recommend for $6.99 if it looked as good as the Wii version and had some way to compete with friends. There are many missed opportunities that could have made this an excellent eShop fishing game. As it stands, unless you absolutely love fishing games and want something new to play, you shouldn’t expect too much from it, because it doesn’t have very much to offer beyond the initial appeal of the gameplay.
+ Good controls and mechanics
+ Multiple unlockable lakes to fish in
+ Lures that control somewhat differently
+ A number of tournaments and events to compete in
- Very repetitive
- Not much variety
- Visuals are, for the most part, lifeless and rather boring
- Not much to offer beyond the initial gameplay
Alexandre Trottier doesn’t really like fish. In fact, they kind of creep him out. He’s only been fishing once, and this is his first time playing a fishing video game (unless you count the minigame in Wii Play). He was surprised that he actually enjoyed it! You can follow him on Twitter @NF_Alexandre, where he probably won’t post anything about fish aside from a link to this review, and occasionally with regards to how terrifying they are. He’d love it if you checked out the NintendoFuse forums. They’re pretty awesome.