Dovetail Games no doubt has the virtual reality (VR) fishing simulator covered. The studio helped introduce the HTC Vive with an adaption of its Dovetail Games Fishing last year and was recently listed as one of the developers working on PlayStation VR. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for other, more casual fishing experiences on head-mounted displays (HMDs). Enter Resolution Games with its new Gear VR release, Bait!.
It’s important to understand that Bait! is categorically not a fishing simulator. Rather than appeal to a niche audience, Resolution Games has opted for made up, imaginative wildlife, simple controls and a big, bombastic art style for its second VR project, following up last year’s Solitaire Jester.
As such, Bait! even has a story to it with characters and dialogue. Essentially, you’re on holiday, but it doesn’t take long to drag you into problems that can all be resolved with a rod and some bait. The title opens up on a breath-taking island with your character relaxing by the side of a lake. Mountains spiral off in the distance while a lush forest teems with activity on the other side of the area. Make no mistake; Bait!‘s subject matter may not appeal to everyone but this is one of the best showcases of Gear VR’s graphical capabilities.
Actually catching fish is simple to start off with. Bait! is played without a gamepad, instead relying on the Gear VR’s touchpad. You look at the body of water you want to cast your rod off in, throw it, wait for a fish to have a bite and then engage in a balancing act between not breaking the line, reeling the fish in, and not letting it escape. This is all represented by a bar that will quickly fill when you hold the touchpad down, snapping if it fills up. Bring the catch in close enough and you’ll claim it as your own.
It’s a mechanic that’s strikingly easy to get to grips with, although the constant use of the touchpad means your arm can get tired quickly. It’s also quite possible that it’s a little too simple; Bait! will need to up its challenge and variety later in videogame if it’s to remain engaging throughout. Forcing players to master the art of catching fish will only get this so far; what happens when, simply put, you get too good?
Fortunately, there are progression systems of sorts to keep your attention. Catching fish and completing jobs earns you more money which you can use to purchase better equipment. You’ll also gain access to new areas across the island, including a grotty swamp that holds alligator-shaped fish and more. There really is a full ‘story’ mode here, which is something to be appreciated on Gear VR at this point in time.
Right now Bait!’s biggest appeal is its production values. This is one of the most well rounded titles on Gear VR by some way, and VRFocus hopes that Resolution Games will one day apply its presentational skills to something that will appeal a little more to hardcore players. Until that day comes, however, Bait! looks to be a perfectly adequate time-waster.