Published on April 13th, 2013 | by Shawn Long, Features Editor
Super Black Bass 3D Review
Developer: Starfish Software
Publisher: Rising Star Games
Genre: Sports, Fishing
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: April 2, 2013
Review Notes: A copy of the game was received for review purposes.
To make a fun fishing game is a tough challenge. One of my favorite Sega Genesis games was King Salmon, which was a straightforward fishing game that still managed to stay fun. The River King series managed to combine role playing game elements into fishing games and was another success for the genre. But for every success there has to be a failure, and unfortunately Super Black Bass 3D is such a mess of confusing and non-working elements that it makes you wonder if the developers even tried at all.
You begin by choosing a male or female character (with some of the worst menus I have ever seen), you get a tutorial to attempt to brief you on the game mechanics, which is where you start to see some of the gameplay problems.
The 3DS is used as your fishing rod by using the gyroscope features, and it just doesn’t work well. First, the main problem is the gesture used for the standard cast. This is done by holding the 3DS upright and “casting” by thrusting the handheld console forward. The hinges on your 3DS will hate you. By violently shaking the console, you will half the time end up closing the system. It can’t be good for the console and just seems like a tacky gimmick. The other casts have you “casting” from the side, or doing a granny-shot cast, using the system, and all do not work properly. It is way too inconsistent and is a pain in the butt instead of being helpful towards the overall gameplay experience.
Hooking and reeling in the fish is where the real excitement begins, though. Once you get a bite, you yank the 3DS towards you (oh, those poor hinges) and hold down the ‘A’ button. Then you wait. And wait. And wait. The fish will jump out of the water the entire time, never tiring and one of two things will happen. Either your line will snap, or you will reel it in. The game features a meter as to how strong your fishing line is, but it doesn’t seem to actually correspond with the game as far as the actual strength of the line.
The game has a strong emphasis on Tournament Mode, but the effort wasn’t put into that either. The 3D effects constantly turn off on their own for some of the most basic cut scenes I have ever seen. The game doesn’t really hype you up for the “fun” fishing that is about to transpire, and will lull you to sleep.
One of the main problems I had with the game was the fact that the menus are so confusing during the actual fishing process. I had the hardest time trying to navigate and figure out simple things like return to the shop to get more supplies that it really deterred me from trying to advance. Everything is just so unnecessarily confusing that I wonder if more than one person actually programmed this game.
Once you are in the shop where you can purchase supplies, you actually do see where all the effort was put in, and that’s in the amount of tackle that you can acquire. A huge array of lures, lines and rods are available, and it actually makes you wish that the game was more playable to enjoy the vast variety. I thought the gameplay might be smoother with upgrades to your bait and tackle, but it doesn’t improve anything.
I haven’t mentioned anything about the graphics, but they are somehow worse than the mechanics, which actually boggles my mind. Everything feels flat, the water itself has no life to it, the fish move in jerky twitches and the camera has tons of slowdown moments when you shift it to under the water. There is nothing going on underwater, so why is there so much slowdown? The sound is a bunch of stock “fishing” music and clicking from your reel, with no voice acting for your characters in the tournament mode. The game stands as an overall emblem of poor game design.
I was hoping for a real fishing simulator for the Nintendo 3DS, but Super Black Bass 3D is not it. It’s a bit ironic that the developer put the “3D” in the title when the game constantly shifts to 2D and makes you wonder if the 3D feature for your 3DS broke randomly. For $29.99 you can buy a cheap rod, lure and head down to a river or lake and have a much better time than this game could ever manage to offer. Throw this back into the water with concrete weights and let it sink.
+ Nice array of bait and tackle
– Terrible graphics
– Terrible game play
Check out my home-made commercial. Please, only viewers 18 and up.