Two years ago, Big John Games angled two fishing simulators towards Wii and DSi owners on the then current gen gaming consoles. It's now decided to take a leap upstream, diving headfirst onto the 3DS with Big Bass Arcade: No Limit. While this third entry in the series does well to live up to those that came before i, does it 'reelly' offer enough to keep gamers hooked?
It’s clear that Big Bass Arcade: No Limit has more to offer than the previous two entries in this series, but branding it with the rather ostentatious moniker “No Limit” means that BJG was essentially setting it up to fail. This is by no means a bad game, but it is shockingly limited.
If the WiiWare version of Big Bass Arcade served to expand off of the DSiWare release, then this iteration can be considered a further expansion of that home console port. No Limit does add to the pre-existing versions in terms of the locations that you can visit and fish available to catch, but it also loses some aspects as well. The motion controls implemented in the WiiWare release are now gone, replaced with the button and touchscreen commands from the original DSiWare outing. These changes may seem obvious based on the hardware, but as the 3DS does boast a gyroscope – though sometimes ineffective – the technology could have been used to offer the more realistic input method as an alternative.
The number of lakes to explore has increased, but your movement through the water is still limited to simply strafing left to right rather than full exploration. When you find a spot where you’d like to cast your line, you can either press the A button or flick on the 3DS’s touchscreen. Once you’ve got one hooked, reeling your fish in comes down to either holding the A and B buttons while following on-screen prompts to press a directional button, or reeling your line in on the touchscreen. Both of these options work well, and the touchscreen method is surprisingly sensitive to the speed at which you reel. The fish catching process is little more than a glorified quick time event that you’ll be spending most of the game doing, but it is engaging, and just stressful enough to actually require concentration that doesn’t become dull too quickly.
Just like in the other games, there are three modes to play. Free Fish allows you to explore any of your unlocked fishing holes using the lures that you’ve gathered without having to worry about a time limit or catching a certain weight of fish. If you’re looking to unwind and relax, this is the mode for you. Challenges mode exists to test your skills in 5 to 8 minute increments. All of the challenges require that different types and amounts of fish be caught, but it all comes down to the same mechanics used in different ways. The only real necessity in completing challenges is that they allow you to unlock additional lakes and lures that are necessary for the third mode, Tournaments. In this mode you will take to the lakes and attempt to score higher than your AI opponents by catching more, heftier, and less common fish. These different modes provide variety in your goals, but they all come down to simple variations on the same old fishing process.
No Limit preserves similar graphics to those found in previous series entries, plus the inclusion of 3D visuals. While you shouldn’t expect fish to come flopping at you from the screen, the added depth makes an already attractive game look even better. The soundtrack also does well to convey the relaxing experience of going on a fishing trip, picking up at the appropriate moments to emphasize the struggle between man and beast.
It doesn’t seem fair to refer to Big Bass Arcade: No Limit as a “lazy sequel”, because it doesn’t work like a sequel at all. Instead, what we have here is an expanded version of two games that have already been released on separate consoles. That’s not to say that this is a bad game by any stretch of the imagination, but it doesn’t exactly serve its purpose of offering a new experience with “no limit[s].” If you’re looking for a suitable way to unwind and you enjoy arcade fishing, then there’s a good chance that this one will have you hooked.