My Biggest Catch At GDC

There have been an impressive slate of iPhone games on show here at GDC, but my favourite so far has surprised even me. Here are some hints: It didn't involve guns, puzzles, punching, racing cars or jet fighters.

So far that game that has me itching to play it more is about fishing.

Gameloft's Fishing Kings kicks off by having you select where in the world you're going to drop anchor. One you select your location, the game opens up on a surprisingly beautiful view of you location as seen from the back of a boat.

Players can look around the scenery by touching and dragging on the screen. Once you decide where you want to cast you touch the water and then flick your device toward the point and the third-person perspective shows your fisherman cast off.

When the lure hits the water the image changes to an underwater scene showing your bait of choice gently floating to the sandy floor among coral and fish. You can at any time tap the on-screen fish to find out the best bait to use to attract them.

Once the bait is in the water you can start reeling it in by either snapping your Apple device toward you or by tracing circles with your finger over the image of a reel in the bottom left of the screen. Whether you get a fish to bite depends on the bait you use, how skillfully you manipulate your lure as you reel it in and a bit of fishy AI.

Once a fish takes the bait you snap the device toward you to hook the fish and then reel it in. While reeling you need to keep an eye on a line tension gauge to make sure the fish doesn't snap the line. If the line gets too tight you have to tilt the iPhone or iPod Touch to the left or right to tire out the fish without letting it break away. Eventually, if done right, you reel the fish in, placing it in a virtual live well.

My 15 minutes or so spent with the game cost me three broken lines and landed my only a single fish, a 100kg Tarpon and, I'm almost embarrassed to admit, a momentary flush of pride. I even snapped a picture of the fish I caught, shown on Gameloft's iPod Touch, with my iPhone.

That's the sort of thing that makes me know I'm going to want to pick this game when it comes out. And, Gameloft tells me, you will be able to show off your catches to friends once the game comes out.

The only thing I was slightly disappointed with was the music of the game, which was more distracting then relaxing. But turned off, I'd like to think the game's ambient noises will help set the mood for this fishing game.


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