Ten years ago, fishing sim games were a dime a dozen, particularly on the Wii. A re-release of the 2009 Wii game, Bass Pro Shops The Strike: Championship Edition is back on Nintendo Switch, aiming to provide a realistic fishing experience. While the game attempts to live up to the feeling of casting a rod and hauling in your big catch, the result is such an unfortunate mess that I couldn’t even catch a single fish to progress the game forward.
If you’ve played the original The Strike on Wii, everything on offer will look familiar. You have a career mode, a Quick Fish mode, a Challenges mode, and other options for leaderboards and more. You start out with one lake in which to fish, with up to 10 locations available which can be unlocked through playing career mode. The premise is simple: go out on your boat, choose a place to stop, and cast your line with the hopes in reeling in the big one. Problem is, even with the “tutorial” at the beginning of career mode, the act of fishing is a downright painful experience. You have different methods of casting, but they all lead to the same result, with seemingly no added benefit from casting overhand, sideways, or underhand. Once your lure is in the water…that’s about it. I spent over two hours casting…and casting…and casting again, to no avail. Nine times out of ten, I didn’t see a single fish in sight, and on the rare occasion I did, they swam right past my lure without a second glance. I poured through all of the game’s options to see if I was doing anything wrong, but it appears that’s simply the design of the game. Actual fish are few and far between, and, at least in my experience, the ones you do find swim right past you. It never mattered which lure I used—aside from bobbing at varying levels of depth underwater, none of the ways I cast my line made a difference, and that’s a shame.
Since I wasn’t actually able to experience the core object of this game—catching fish—this review, unfortunately, is rather truncated. What I can comment on is the fact that the game is nearly an identical replica of the original 2009 title, with slightly updated visuals. Don’t take that to mean visual spectacle is on display here, however; the graphics are downright atrocious by 2018 standards. Control-wise, the game is much better suited either playing in handheld or using a Pro controller; the packed-in Fishing Rod peripheral, while looking cool aesthetically, serves little functional purpose. The act of casting using motion controls is a downright janky experience, and it was extremely difficult to successfully cast my line. In the end, though, it never really mattered since I was never actually able to catch a fish, which is really the crux of the issue with Bass Pro Shops The Strike: Championship Edition. No matter which mode I played, I couldn’t catch anything, which really left a sour taste in my mouth.
Though it aims for the realism of casting a line on a sunny day, Bass Pro Shops The Strike: Championship Edition can hardly be called a worthwhile fishing sim. Slipshod motion controls, bland graphical presentation, and the fact I couldn’t progress due to the inability to catch a single fish relegate this title to being little more than a lame and poor rehash of old ideas.
Disclaimer: A review copy of Bass Pro Shops The Strike: Championship Edition was provided by the game’s publisher.