Review: The Catch: Carp and Coarse
Much like I mention in my review of Hunting Simulator 2, I am once again immersed in a world doing something I wouldn’t normally do, but absolutely loving doing it in this wonderful virtual playground called video games.
I’ve been fishing once in real life (over 40 years ago) and soon discovered that it wasn’t for me, so have never felt the need to try it again.
However, I’ve always found that fishing in video games is something that I really enjoy doing, with Sega Bass Fishing (complete with the fishing rod controller) being a particular highlight of my Dreamcast playing days.
Since then Dovetail Games have scratched my PS4 fishing itch with Euro Fishing and then Fishing Sim World, so I was delighted that I could get my virtual tackle out once again (no sniggering at the back there please!) when we were offered a PS4 review code of their latest fishing game: The Catch: Carp and Coarse.
The first thing that struck me was the bump in the games graphics, which includes a great “living” menu screen where you can also unlock more underwater scenes as you progress through the game.
For a game where you may well be thinking “it’s just fishing, there can’t be that much to do”, The Catch: Carp and Coarse gives you a lot to keep you occupied…and also many reasons to have “just one more cast” or “just one last try on that particular game mode”.
Even if you are already familiar with Dovetail’s previous fishing games, it is always a good idea to refresh yourself with the controls in the tutorial section, while also checking out any new gameplay additions.
Once familiarised with how to play, you can then create your own in-game avatar (for those post-catch photos to show off to everyone). The options are all fairly standard, but you can also unlock more clothing choices as you progress.
The choice is then:
- Fishing Trip
- Online Leagues
Fishing Trip gives you 5 locations to choose from:
- Loch Mickle (Scotland)
- Oxlease Lake (England)
- Pearl Lake (Malaysia)
- River Ebro (Spain)
- Rotterdam (Netherlands)
Once you’ve chosen your location you are free to decide which particular spot on the map you want to start, what tackle and rods combination you want to use, and then you’re free to discover everything about that particular environment and the fish that live there.
Events take things up a notch a task you with competing against in-game anglers across a variety of disciplines:
- Grand Slam
- Species Hunter
These 30 minute events really bring out that “just one more go” mentality as you fall just short of catching a set number of a particular species in Species Hunter, or fall just a few ounces (or grammes if you select metric) short of the highest weight caught in the time period.
Playing through the events adds a fantastic competitive edge as you keep glancing at the countdown timer knowing that just one more big catch could see you jump to the top of the leaderboard.
Multiplayer is self explanatory and if you choose to be the host you can change a number of settings:
- Number of Rounds
- Time of Day
- Time Limit
- Catchable Species
Online Leagues ramp up the competitive edge once again with 4 events to choose from:
- Hunter Series
- Carp Series
- Predator Series
- Coarse Series
You have to pay 1000 Tackle Points (TP) to enter and only have 3 attempts per series.
TP is acquired across all game modes and allocated when catching fish. This might only be a few TP when reeling in a tiddler, but get something substantial on the shore for you to take a photo with and your TP account will soon be bursting with enough points to spend on the multitude of new equipment available to you, from rods, to reels and bait, as well as the aforementioned avatar additions.
The player statistics screen is gaming crack for a stats freak like myself, and allows you to track personal progression on…well, just about everything really. There is even a stats page for all of the “Boss Fish” in each location, as well as all of the different species of fish in the game. No matter what you want to know about what you’ve done in-game (and what you’d still like to do but haven’t managed to yet), it is all here and displayed in an easy to read way.
I absolutely love the quality of life gameplay options Dovetail have put in this game. The ability to change your rod/tackle/bait “on the fly” is fantastic. As is changing the time of day while you continue to fish. Suddenly find you don’t own the correct gear you’d ideally need for this particular location? No problem, just open up your tackle box and if you have enough TP to spend then you can buy whatever you want.
Want to jump to another fishing spot on the map? Again, no problem. Open the map and select which one you want to be transported to, and even if you want a change from standing on the bank with your 3 rods cast with varying combinations of rod/reel/bait, you can jump into a boat and choose anywhere on the water where you want to stop and fish for a while…all helped by your in-game sonar giving you an indication of the number of fish (and also how deep they are) as you pass over them.
Don’t know what bait or hook would work to catch the fish you’re after? Once more that is no problem, as Dovetail have made everything about the game very easy to follow and points everything out in an easy to find and easy to read way. So even the 1st time angler can be reeling in a whopper and happily posing with it for that post-catch photo.
Even the gameplay mechanics of reeling in the fish have been improved upon, with a more active involvement in not only catching the fish, but also successfully reeling them in too. It really does give a satisfying sense of achievement when you’ve spent a good few minutes tactically changing your line tension and reel speed to stop the fish from getting off the hook.
Like myself you may have zero interest in fishing in real life, but don’t let that put you off dipping your toes into the waters of The Catch: Carp and Coarse, you may well find yourself hooked…pun fully intended.
One more advantage of this game is that while there are plenty of things for you to do to further your progression, there is no real narrative for you to follow, and should you want to turn down the sound (of which the in-game aural atmosphere is very relaxing) you can happily carry on fishing while listening to podcasts…cough cough, wink wink.
The Catch: Carp and Coarse is now my new favourite fishing game…give it a try and it could well be yours too.
Review by Dave from a PS4 review code kindly supplied by Dovetail games via NeonHive.