I don't know what it is about giant space whales that so deeply resonates with me, but as soon as I see one in any video game, I'm in it for the long haul. That's how Fishing Paradiso managed to hook me, with a celestial whale informing my spirit that I've and gone to heaven. Great news, right? Well, heaven's cool and all, but is it really as cool as you personally would like? Maybe there's a way that you can mold heaven into your own perfect paradise?
The bizarre setup was interesting enough, but what ultimately reeled me in (pun intended) were the gorgeous pixel graphics, the story, and the absolutely wonderful soundtrack. Don't be surprised when you see Fishing Paradiso show up on our list of best Android games soon.
After landing squarely in heaven, your silent protagonist gets a narrative guide in the form of Birdy, a peppy little blue bird who takes you under its wing. The economics of heaven are a different than I would have guessed, as Birdy directs you to take up the noble art of fishing to eat, get gold, and help out the other souls hanging around. Who knew the dead had such a mighty need for fish?
There are hundreds of fish, both real and imagined, to catch and conquer.
The fishing is more complex than I was expecting and actually requires some finesse to master. Your character starts out with a basic rod that has terrible stats, which can be upgraded to improve stamina, casting power, and tension, among other things. Different types of fish will spawn depending on the region of heaven you're in and they'll appear in the fore, middle, or background based on their breed's behavior. Bigger fish can be quite a challenge to reel in, so increasing your rod's stats is necessary for success.
But you're not just out here catching fish. As you search for the mystical space whale, you meet all kinds of colorful characters who will give you quests for certain types, sizes, and quantities of fish. Once a quest is completed, you'll be rewarded with gold and sometimes neat items to decorate your island cabana. A feature of the game that I especially appreciate is that quest and sub-quest fish will be have colored shadows, making your targets much easier to spot.
Quests also progress the game's story, and the depth on display caught me off guard. I had very low expectations for a fishing game's narrative, but in addition to some conflict happening with the angels, your character appears to be experiencing flashbacks from his previous life. It's unclear how he died and these flashbacks don't seem to point to a particularly good exit from the mortal realm. It's a nice mystery to watch unfold over what could have been a much more boring game.
New to Play Pass, Fishing Paradiso is free for subscribers and comes with a few cosmetic IAPs already unlocked.
I do have a few small complaints though, one of which might just be an issue unique to my device or OS. While playing on my OnePlus 9 (with Android 12 beta), the game freezes after taking screenshots and the only way to restore playability is to fully exit the game and resume at your last save. Speaking of which, there are only auto-saves, which are mostly fine but they happen at somewhat irregular points when it comes to story beats. If you re-enter the game after a conversation, you'll likely have to re-watch the whole thing. And no, the dialogue cutscenes are not skippable.
Fishing Paradiso is a new addition to Google Play Pass so it's 100% free for subscribers. Even so, the price tag is hard to pass on, especially when it means that the optional in-app purchases are also considered purchased already. That means you'll be starting out with three extra decoration packs for your house that would otherwise have cost two bucks a piece.
If you're not a Play Pass subscriber, Fishing Paradiso is still free, but monetized through ads and in-app purchases. Unfortunately I can't accurately comment on the prevalence of the ads since I never encountered them, but the IAPs, as stated earlier, are totally harmless.
All told, Fishing Paradiso is an excellent game for fishing pros and casual life-sim/RPG players alike. You can just as easily spend a handful of minutes getting a few casts in as you can blaze through a few chapters of the game at a time. It's got a few mechanical quirks that are a little annoying, but nothing so bad that it can't be forgiven. It's certainly more robust than other fishing-centric games, like Fishing Life, so I would heartily recommend it to anyone looking to get their fishing fix.
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