The Internet repetition machine continues to churn on at an unbelievable pace, picking up on good ideas and replicating them tenfold with less love, care and attention as the original iteration. It’s happened to hardware vendors, software companies and even whole social networks and shows no sign of stopping.
How does this tie-in to the fantastically addictive Ridiculous Fishing, you might ask? Well it just so happens the team behind this completely over-the-top tilt ‘n’ shoot game are victims of a cloning after having their entire concept lifted and repackaged. Am I just being touchy, or is this now fair game?
Read on for the full low-down and review.
Imitation and Flattery
It was once believed that imitation was the greatest form of flattery, but I’m detecting a change in the winds. Take Vlambeer, the small team of Dutch indie developers behind the App Store’s recent Editor’s Choice, Ridiculous Fishing. A few years ago they released a free Flash game called Radical Fishing which proved to be popular for its outlandish addictive gameplay. Spurred on by their success in the Flash game market the developers eyed a bigger prize: iOS and its army of paying customers.
The proverbial spanner in the works came when a game called Ninja Fishing surfaced. It took Vlambeer’s entire concept and cloned it one-for-one, releasing on the App Store under the guise of Ninja Fishing. The worst part is that as the popularity took hold, few people realised what had happened and where the concept came from, robbing the original team of their deserved glory. Ninja Fishing is currently free on the App Store and enjoys five-star reviews for its addictive gameplay model which is a fairly unoriginal copy.
There is definitely a moral to this story, I’d say “don’t release a free Flash game before releasing a potentially successful iOS version” is a pretty good one. What Gamenauts, the developers of Ninja Fishing, did wasn’t entirely reprehensible – it was enterprising. They spotted a good concept and put it on a platform that fitted it perfectly. That doesn’t make what they did right, but it’s definitely something to remember if you’re thinking of making an app any time soon. Similarly if you’re fond of “doing the right thing” then you’ll already know who to give your money to.
Let’s Go Fishing
Ridiculous Fishing is a brilliant game, regardless of how many mistakes the developers made and how long it took to arrive on iOS. I can tell you right now it’s an altogether better game than Ninja Fishing – it seems that Vlambeer took the time to pack in as much as they could despite their inevitable disappointment about being cloned. If anything the cloning incident may have resulted in a better game in the end.
The game is a three-in-one affair, with three main elements. First you must cast your line, which involves some reverse Doodle Jump-style manoeuvring as you try and avoid the fish as you cast off, descending as deep as possible without hitting anything. Once you’ve reached the extent of your line (or you hit a fish by accident) then it’s time to ascend. On the way up you must catch as many fish as possible by tilting your device to hook them. Finally once you have hit the surface it’s time to reach for your gun and blow those fish sky high by tapping furiously. Any fish you miss here won’t be added to your final catch – and that’s it.
Of course there’s a lot more to the game than that, but this is the gameplay model which works so well and was so brazenly cloned in Ninja Fishing. As you catch newer species you will unlock more areas, and in turn more species. Upgrades are available from the store, which thankfully has nothing in common with free-to-play stores. This is a game you can buy outright, without worrying about premium currency or in-app purchases which is becoming a bit of a rarity.
With a name like Ridiculous Fishing it should be pretty obvious that these upgrades up the crazy somewhat. With items like Uzis, a chainsaw lure which burrows through fish and the standard extensions to lures and items for your character – there’s a lot to unlock here. That’s just as well because you’ll have a lot of in-game currency once you’ve realised you spent the last half an hour fishing like a lunatic. We’re talking Angry Birds levels of addiction.
Beauty & Charm
Before signing off I simply have to mention the beautiful presentation that Ridiculous Fishing delivers. The graphics are an angular homage to 8-bit arcade games of the past, giving the game a distinctly unique and heavily stylised feel. This really sets it apart from the clone, which looks very cartoony and cheap by comparison. Another nice touch is the wooden smartphone wielded by your character which is used as a main menu for accessing the store, a running-list of your catches in the form of the Fish-o-Pedia, the map for travelling to different areas and a Twitter-like fictional social network called Byrdr.
Byrdr updates as you play the game, though the updates are completely fictional. You can retweet them for real if you hit the RT button, a silly but nice touch. It’s a good example of the game’s sense of humour, with more quips to be found in the Fish-o-Pedia. Along with the store, these two areas add an extra level of depth to what is a very simple game, and there are even some hints at possible future twists if you read enough into them.
Finally there is a sub-title, which I’ve yet to mention. The game’s full title is Ridiculous Fishing – A Tale of Redemption, and that probably has more to do with the cloning incident than would first appear. If this really is a tale of redemption then the developers have told it well. For $2.99 you can grab yourself an incredibly extensible addictive arcade game with beautiful graphics and delightful humour which can stand up to the best iOS has to offer. I can’t wait to see what Vlambeer come up with next, though I hope we see a few decent updates to Ridiculous Fishing first. Buy it!
Download: Ridiculous Fishing on the App Store ($2.99) for your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad.
Have you played Ridiculous Fishing? What about Ninja Fishing? Let us know what you think in the comments, below.