Reel Fishing Challenge II is, by definition, the follow-up to Reel Fishing Challenge that hit WiiWare last year and as such is basically just more of the same. Fans of staring at full-motion video backgrounds and boring, lame fishing mechanics, rejoice!
Everything about it just feels lazy, and the fact that it's essentially a rehash of a PlayStation One game doesn't help. There is no widescreen or pointer support, precisely one FMV background and ugly underwater sections. Party like it's 1996, y'all.
Each of the game's 30 timed challenges tasks you with catching a certain number or type of fish using an assortment of lures and whatever the hell else you have in your tackle box. It's nice that the lures actually do matter in governing what type of fish you'll attract, but actually reeling in fish is, shall we say, dull.
Alright, so there you are, staring at this big ol' lake or pond or River Styx you just paid 500 Points for that is full of dumb fish, and you're determined to catch those suckers if it's the last thing you do. You twist the Remote to aim your discombobulated fishing rod left or right (which seems inconsequential anyway), hold down A and do a swinging motion to cast. It doesn't matter how hard you swing, regardless of what the instructions tell you, because that sucker is going however far it feels like. The camera jumps to an overhead view of your lure hanging out in the murkiest water this side of New Jersey, and you can reel it in either fast or slow to attract your prey. If a fish nibbles then a well-timed pull of the Remote will hook it. Reeling it in comes down to two actions: when the fish isn't doing anything then keep the controller flat and reel, otherwise hold it vertically and do nothing. Once it's caught, the screen fades white to a shot of the presumably dead fish with its weight displayed. The type and weight are saved to your high score table, but only after you exit your current session for some reason. Why it doesn't save immediately is a big Scooby mystery, but signs point to not giving a carp.
That is, of course, if you're lucky to get one nibbling. Many times you'll cast and, no matter how you jiggle or not jiggle the lure, fish will just ignore you. We suppose this is "realistic" in the sense that real fishing involves a lot of waiting and you don't hook a fish for every cast, but actually catching a fish isn't the whole, or even most important, part of the experience. But here, it is, and it's very boring.
Actually, we lied earlier when we said this was more of the same. Reel Fishing Challenge II manages to do less of the same since the Free Play option from the first is nowhere to be found, unless it's tucked away hidden where there be dragons.
If you bought the first Reel Fishing Challenge then there's no need to splurge on this one unless you're exceptionally fond of FMV backgrounds. This also makes a great gift for that friend or relative of yours who is into fishing, that you don't really like because they're stupid and ugly and hopefully they're a little blind, too. Pour a glass of water on your cash instead, or get the first game if you really need a WiiWare fishing game, or get the infinitely more interesting My Aquarium instead.