Out of few of us here who review games, I was probably the most qualified to put some time into Super Black Bass 3D. Forget the fact I’m pretty much the only one with a 3DS, but I’ve played and enjoyed a variety of fishing games throughout my years of gaming; anyone remember Trophy Bass by Sierra? So I was actually excited to try my hand at a handheld fishing game for the 3DS; I sat there thinking of all the interesting things a developer could do on a powerful system like the 3DS; the gyroscope, the touch screen, the 3D, and yes of course the graphics. Once I powered on the system, I was in awe at what I saw. After I noticed the amount of street passes I received, I inserted Super Black Bass 3D into the 3DS.
First and foremost, this is fishing; if you don’t like waiting for hours and recasting a line over and over then stay away as this doesn’t do anything to change the formula. What it does do though, it does poorly. There is promise hiding behind the murky waters but it just never strikes and I’m not kidding when I say murky either, these graphics and animations are something to be unseen. The animations look ridged and stiff; just low quality all around. Things get better once you’re in the water but man, what a hot mess the human models are. Lucky for us, you’re not looking at them for a majority of the experience. Your main focus here is on, of course, the fish.
The controls are not terrible, they’re usable, but not terrible. You need to be careful when casting your line as you’re going to have to move your arms, no, physically move your arms. I think it was to be expected here but in painful memories of Wii’s past, you have to make the tossing motion with the 3DS as if you were casting the line. This is where a problems arise since you have to toss your 3DS around. You’ll want to grip the 3DS by placing your thumbs on the top screen, below the speakers, while clasping the back of the screen with your index fingers. Even with a firm grip there’s risk of kickback on the screen causing extra wear and tear on your hinges. So here is a fair warning for those with loose top screens, be extremely cautious. The motion detection works as advertised and the different types of casting you can do by the different motions work as intended.
Once you’ve cast your line and sent your lure flying into the vast empty scenery, things become just slightly more tolerable. Unlike their human counterparts, the fish are more life like in their animations. The actual models used for the fish look, well, like fish so A+ there. I have to feel for these poor digital fish though, it must be a dull life for them in these waters of 1′s and 0′s as there isn’t much to see. It’s a pretty barren lake bed with the occasional brush or wood pile showing up. You are able to rotate the camera 360 degrees around the lure to try and see where the fish are located and they prompt you with a handy arrow letting you know which direction an interested fish is coming from. You start with a standard spinner lure and so far its been the best lure to use, or at least it’s the one I had the most luck with. Using the spinner is like bringing glow sticks to biker bar, bass will be interested to strike. I would like to thank the individual who decided against going with the most obvious route, using the touch screen to reel your line in. Imagine the pain if you had to draw circles over and over and over just wearing out the screen, the stylus, your arm, and your sanity; all you need to do is hold the A button.
But here’s how it will go down. You’ll get excited that a fish has finally decided to bite and you start reeling in. As you sit there in a daydream stare thinking, “wow, it finally happened”, you’ll forget about your line tension and snap, the line breaks, the fish swims, and you lose your best lure. Now you’re sitting there staring at the screen, possibly grumbling expletives as you go to your tackle box only to find out there are two other lures to choose from; two different ineffective poppers. After attempting both versions of the popper cast after cast, steam comically blew out my ears; to get my magical spinner back, I had to start the tournament over. Now, if you’re lucky enough to catch some fish and earn some cash in the tournaments, you’ll be able to purchase new lures, upgraded line/rod/reel, and even boats and accessories from the shop on the main menu. So yes, there is some progression to make in this game and by completing more tournaments, you’ll eventually unlock four other lakes to fish from.
All my silliness aside, underneath the poor presentation there is a tolerable fishing game here, it’s just that even though it’s tolerable, it just isn’t fun. It’s ugly, it’s dull, and at times it can be annoying. For example, you don’t have to play that stupid late 80′s arcade selection ring every time I press a button on screen! For a full retail priced item I would not recommend this at all. If you have a family member who really doesn’t care about the visuals and just wants to fish on a 3DS then fine, this might be something to pass the time, but do yourself a favor and wait for a sale.
A copy for the game was provided by PR for review purposes