There comes a point where you have to wonder what someone considered to be a quality effort in making their games. I mean, sure, there’s distinctly shovelware that exists just to slap a name on a thing and make a buck, but there’s this whole different beast when it comes to mobile ports. A lot of mobile games exist to snag people with simple actions and fast gratification and gradually build to dependency and enticing in-app purchasing. So to bring that to consoles in any flavor requires a bit of tenacity and, honestly, blind optimism. And I think that HandyGames must have been neck deep in it to justify the release of Dynamite Fishing – World Games.
This World Games version is a multiplayer, console dedicated spinoff to their smartphone success story, Super Dynamite Fishing. The game is supposed to bring a funny and nonviolent take on the infamous practice of dynamite fishing, which involves throwing explosives into the water and letting the concussive force of the blast kill all fish in the immediate vicinity. With the World Games version, your task is to compete in several Cups around the world, out―fishing and outwitting opponents of all walks of life in order to snag the most and best fish from various places. Along the way, you get to unlock new characters, new boats, new weapons, new cosmetics, and probably some other nifty perks as well. Do you have what it takes to become a master blaster and obliterate fish better than any other criminal fisherperson in the world?
Now, clearly, the game has been scaled not in size but in terms of how effective explosives are. If this were true to life, dropping a stick of dynamite directly beneath you would not only liquefy any fish it directly touched, but also probably put you in a seriously dangerous position. As a result, you usually need to drop at least two or three sticks on a single fish to get it to float, and this is balanced by being able to limitlessly, effortlessly hurl dynamite near and far without any consideration as to the weight limits or implied munitions licenses. The more successful hits you have in a row, the higher your combo meter runs until you can unleash your superpower, which is usually something insane like a carpet bombing of the river to obliterate the fish. You can also use ultra-powerful, one time use weapons that you assign prior to fishing, as well as discover in treasure chests throughout the stages. These items are hilariously over the top, such as a gatling gun, a massive refrigerator, and what I think was a cat strapped to more explosives. They don’t add to your combo, but they can catch you up on fish body count pretty fast if you’re starting to lag behind the competition.
I have to applaud HandyGames for their dedication to the idea and the execution. This concept is completely insane and hilariously inaccurate, but they really went all the way to eleven with the comic effect. All the boats are dinghies that gradually become more outlandish and powerful, buffing up speed and damage resistance (which is important in later stages against both foes and fish alike). The characters range from a demented redneck to the incarnation of Death itself, which apparently likes fishing. The fish quickly go from pseudo realistic to Looney Toons material, with angler fish having actual lamps for light and one piranha boss looking suspiciously like the Xenomorph from Aliens. You drop a toaster into the water and electrocute everything, as well as see some burnt toast appear. You have your boat do sweet jumps down waterfalls, through abandoned mines and through the canals of Venice, all in a quest to explosively outfish either a friend or the computer. The concept is decent, and the visual delivery on it is quite good. Hell, I even wanted to see what else I could get in terms of clothing because I liked decking myself out to look even MORE ridiculous in order to totally sell the experience.
The devil, though, comes in the actual gameplay of Dynamite Fishing – World Games. You’ll notice that the PEGI rating says ages three and up are okay to play, and that isn’t just a rating, that’s a recommendation. There’s zero blood, zero scary moments, and zero chance that your child will end up even coming close to losing if they understand the standard mechanics required to play this game. You push the A button, drop dynamite, hit it as fast as you want and you’re golden. Push X if you have an item, and, if not, you’ll find one soon. Y to use your combo as long as there are enough fish on the screen to make the use of your powers worthwhile, and B to jump. That’s it. You mash A like a madman and you’re guaranteed to win against the CPU. Playing against someone else is really a question of how badly they want to win versus not getting carpal tunnel. More than likely, if you’re young, you’ll win out.
Normally, simple mechanics wouldn’t be enough to sink a ship, but there isn’t enough extra to keep the framework around this idea buoyant. You do these different cups, but the layout never feels really different because, surprise, you’re still just dynamiting fish. If you get to a boss fish before the CPU, you’ll probably be able to blow it to hell and claim the glory before they even get on the screen. You win, you win something from the slot machine, you usually can get all three stars with mild concentration, and then you just move on. There isn’t enough stationary action to make the game relaxing like other mobile ports, but there isn’t enough strategy or intrigue to keep someone invested in it if they’re already playing the smartphone version for free. The incentive comes when you have kids who really want to play a game against each other, are already aware of your smartphone’s primary gaming, and don’t mind being stuck in a repetitive loop of gameplay. I can see this being interesting for some kids, but mine already know a lot of video game characters, so they gave this a hard pass.
My own tastes aside, this is one of those titles that looks like there’s going to be so much to do and see, and, as soon as you peel back one layer, you find that it’s more of the same all the way down. If you seriously enjoyed Super Dynamite Fishing, then Dynamite Fishing – World Games isn’t the worst use of your money, and, hell, you might really enjoy the goofiness and inoffensive violence. If you have no horse in that race, however, you might as well leave your boat docked at home.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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