Dovetail Games Euro Fishing Review (PC)
Dovetail Games Euro Fishing is a game I never expected to like. Dovetail Games are best known for Train Simulator, which I do enjoy, and the recent publishing of Microsoft Flight Simulator X on Steam. However, if you are looking for a game that you can sit down, chill out and lose a few hours, let me tell you about Euro Fishing.
As you might expect, Dovetail Games Euro Fishing is all about fishing. There’s a few different game modes to tackle. You can jump straight in and start fishing, or take on the single player tournaments. There’s also a challenge mode which has you trying to cast into specific areas and things like that. The main mode that you will likely be trying out is the live tournaments. In these you will either be aiming at catching as many fish as possible, or trying to gather the largest combined weight of unique catches. You get rewarded in XP and TP (tackle points) for each catch you make, with bonuses handed to those who finish in the top positions in the tournaments.
The TP (stop thinking of Beavis and Butt-Head) can be spent in the Tackle shop on new bait, hooks, lines and rods. You’ll need to upgrade your tackle box with new equipment in order to catch the bigger fish. You can have a few different custom tackle boxes, allowing you to focus on a specific type of fishing with each box, with up to three rods, four hooks and four baits in each box. Unfortunately you cannot name these boxes, so you just need to remember that “Custom Tackle Box 1” is for big carp fishing and “Custom Tackle Box 2” is for stalking, or however you set it up.
Upgrading your equipment is a must if you want to go after the big fish, and the game is certainly full of those, including a selection of Boss Fish. These can be found in the menus, categorised by which lake they can be found in and with a little biography for each. The early ones are small enough that you can catch them without realising, but when you go up as far as the 100lb monster “Cheetah” it’s going to take all your skill and patience to reel that bad boy in.
The game can be played with either a controller or mouse and keyboard. I had predicted that using a controller would be easier for this type of game, envisaging a swing mechanic similar to a golf game. I quickly gave up on using a controller however, and switched to using a mouse for casting. To cast you hold down the right mouse button and draw the mouse back, before pushing forward and releasing the mouse button at the right moment. It takes a lot of practise, and even then you may still experience the regular dodgy cast. Learning the right combination of hook, bait and bed type is also important as you want to be casting into the right part of the lake with the right gear. You can toggle between a regular cast and a short cast for when you want to do some close range stalking.
Standing on the designated fishing pegs you will occasionally see some bubbles coming to the surface or even some fish jumping to give you an indication of where you might be able to get a bite. With a three rod setup you can cast your first two out into the depths and keep you third in hand, waiting to see the close up jumpers and stalking them around the edge of the lake. If one of the other lines gets a bite then the sensor will start flashing and beeping at you. Pressing the number key associated with that rod you can quickly switch to it in order to reel in your catch. You do this by holding down the left mouse button to wind in the line, using the mouse wheel to set the tension on the line, and moving to the mouse about to lift the rod and help steer the fish towards you. This is the hardest part of the game as you need to get the right balance between tension, wind and rod movement to convince that fish to come towards you so you can get your net in the water to lift it out. Alternatively, so long as you manage to keep the fish on the line long enough you can eventually tire it out to the point of exhaustion, in which case you can just reel it in.
I say that it’s difficult, but it’s also intuitive enough that my five-year old daughter managed to do it. She probably wouldn’t manage to catch one of the boss fish, but she’s more than capable of reeling in a few “tiddlers”. I have to say that I really enjoy playing the game and the almost relaxed thrill of reeling a fish in, but the look of joy on my daughter’s face when she managed it was an absolute highlight of playing Euro Fishing.
Graphically the game is ok, though slightly disappointing in some areas. The water, fish and character models are all really good, but I think the foliage and overall polish of the game are a little lacking. The foliage in Train Simulator is fairly generic and flat, but considering it’s environments are huge you can kind of accept that. But when the weeds and trees that surround these small fishing lakes look similarly flat and low detailed it becomes quite a disappointment. There is also limited set of character models for you to choose from for your player.
As I said at the beginning I didn’t really expect much from Dovetail Games Euro Fishing. I wasn’t expecting it to be a bad game, just not one that I would have got into. How wrong I was. I managed to convince one of our other site members, Smiter, to join me and you may have caught us streaming some multiplayer. Unfortunately the multiplayer didn’t really have the same level of enjoyment as single player due to what we experienced, which was an apparently barren lake. We would set up a half hour session and between the two of us would be lucky to get more than five catches. Compare that to single player when you can catch almost a fish a minute when you are going for the little ones and it just doesn’t seem worthwhile. Instead we would both head into the online tournament and, while we weren’t in a game together, we could still compete against each other on the global leaderboard. Those sessions usually have a 45 minute time limit, but it’ll go by in the blink of an eye.
Even if you aren’t at all interested in fishing games you could well find yourself pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable Dovetail Games Euro Fishing is. If you like the kind of game that lets you go into a “mind palace” kind of state then you will love it.
8 boss fish caught out of 10.