App Army Assemble: River Legends - Does this fly fishing game successfully reel you in?

We ask the App Army

App Army Assemble: River Legends - Does this fly fishing game successfully reel you in?

Fishing Legends: A Fly Fishing Adventure is a retro-inspired fishing game that recently released for iOS after arriving on Android devices last year. Despite the nostalgic graphics suggesting otherwise, it aims to be a fishing simulator rather than a more casual experience. So we handed the game over to our fishing experts, the App Army, to see if they thought the game was a catch.

Here's what they said:

Isaiah Stuart

Fishing legends is an interesting experience. It doesn't have any stress, any obstacles, and only minimal goals. You are just there to fish, peacefully casting back and forth in the hopes of landing a big one. The mechanics are all quite simple, making the game not all that intimidating and easy to get into. The game looks nice and the sound design is relaxing.

There are some problems, however. The controls are often a bit frustrating and not quite responsive enough, and I often found that the casting lacked precision. It can be difficult to get your character to face in the direction you want him to. In addition, I usually like for there to be a bit more to do and to have a more definite set of goals. All in all, not a bad game, just not really my style.

Brian Wigington

I was looking forward to trying this game and for the most part, I am satisfied. I had hoped to find this game to provide a fairly relaxing fishing experience with a neat graphical style and interesting play mechanics. Essentially in this game, you are a fisherman who is on the hunt for the perfect spot to reel in the biggest and best fish. The pixel art style fits what I personally wanted to a T. There are some great little details and animations in my opinion. The sound is decent enough but not particularly memorable.

The method used to cast your fishing line involves sliding your finger back and forth to swish the fishing pole back and forth to build up power to cast the line far or short depending on the motion. It's an interesting control scheme but not always precise, especially when you are trying to cast I to a particular school of fish. Reeling in the catch involves tapping on one of 3 different areas of the side of the screen (gentle, moderate, or hard reeling to pull in the fish). Pull together hard and lose the line, too gentle and the fish gets away, etc.

I personally thought the mechanics got a bit stale but it's still fun to try to get that big fish reeled in to earn some cash or XP and trophies. There is a nice selection of areas to explore and fish in but I feel like this game is one that I may just play in short bursts and eventually be done with. Perhaps some more light RPG elements would help add some replayability. Overall, if you want a fairly casual game you may have a great time. If you want more depth (no pun intended), you may want to look elsewhere.

Adam Rowe

I really wanted to like this game. I love fishing games and anything with RPG elements in it. The first impression was great. The graphics are beautiful, the small starting area is fun to run around and look for spots, and the shop had fun upgrades to look forwards to. I ran through the tutorial and eagerly cast my line. But not in the spot I hoped. So, I cast again. Again, going nowhere near where I thought I was aiming. After trying repeatedly, I finally hooked a fish, was excited to reel it in, but nothing about the controls for reeling it in made sense.

I looked at all the reviews on the App Store, I ran through the tutorial again, I read through all the game hints from the helpful duck, and I asked for advice here on this App Army group… but I still could not get it to work right. I really wanted to like this game, but the controls, the lack of clarity in the game systems, and the lack of a good tutorial really hurt it. I can already hear people telling me to “get good,” but any game that requires this much work on my end and still doesn’t make sense just isn’t for me. I played way longer than I would have otherwise because I just kept thinking, “I must be missing something,” but in the end, I will not return to it. Maybe I’ll just head back to Ridiculous Fishing where at least I can catch something!

Paul Manchester

I have spent the last hour creeping along the river bank picking out potential fishing spots, hoping to catch the elusive River Legend. Thankfully not as cold and wet as my usual fishing jaunts and with a few more fish in the net. I found this a relaxing experience with plenty of environments to explore, fish to catch and a smattering of trophies to track down. The fishing mechanics are simple and the fights just about the right length of time, however, it would be great to have more equipment to unlock and in turn this to have an impact on the fishing.

Everything can be unlocked in a matter of minutes which takes away from the satisfaction of building your gear selection and for many users will probably mean the game quickly loses its appeal. I am still happily exploring the maps and happily seeking those final trophies, but I doubt I will return for any casual casting after the credits roll. So a nice little fishing game for fans of the genre (more so for fans also of pixel art), but lacks any real depth to give it any serious longevity and to keep players hooked.

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Mark Abukoff

I’ve never played a fishing simulator in my life. To me, the only part of fishing I like is what you’re doing while you aren’t catching fish. Talking, drinking a beer or soda and having a conversation. So I can’t tell you if this is on par with other fishing simulators or not. I paid attention to the tutorial, but still had trouble casting my line. That may have been my fault. The graphics were ultra basic but seemed appropriate for the game.

The sound was minimalist and again, appropriate for the game. I’m not sure how much strategy is involved, but it seemed kind of random as far as bites and repetitious as far as gameplay. I personally had no trouble landing them once they bit. Yes, you can gradually upgrade your equipment to enhance your experience. There’s just not much to say about it. If you like fishing simulators, you’ll probably like this.

Oksana Ryan

I’ve never been a fan of fishing, with the zen patience required while waiting for a fish to bite. And this game did nothing to change my mind. That said, if you are a fishing fan, I think you’d enjoy the experience. The graphics are a little basic but adequate, the mechanics of the game are simple to use and even the sound effects are quiet, with no tasteless music in the background. You get to cast your line and wait for the fish to bite. Several fish swim by having a quick nibble but eventually, a fish will attach to the line and you reel it in. You’re given its weight and the option to throw it back. To be fair I have no real criticism of the game except for me it’s not exciting enough.

Robert Maines

River Legends is a fishing game with retro visuals and an over-complicated control scheme that is as retro as the visuals. At least the tutorial guides you through the basics. When you actually nab a fish you can keep it for gold or throw it back for experience points. Larger fish earn you more gold or experience points. Gold lets you upgrade your fishing equipment and enough experience points open up other areas. So it’s a very basic game and I found the on-screen text hard to read at times. Waiting for a fish to bite is hardly riveting stuff and action soon gets repetitive. Not a game I will be going back to.

Sven Herrman

To me, River legends was a big disappointment. My expectations may have been far too high, but running around and trying to catch some fish without any meaning doesn’t do it for me. I was really looking forward to playing it.

I like retro graphics and am always happy to see new games using this archaic or a rather nostalgic way to tell stories, but in this case, the graphic’s “pixels” are far too big. The game was developed to be played on an iPhone (there is no iPad version of it, so far), but with the clunky graphics, the controls become fiddly (is that even a word) and unusable. Long story short, River Legends is not my game.

Jason Rosner

River Legends has to be one of the most charming and relaxing games I’ve played as it really captures the essence of the sport of fly fishing. I have to admit I’m not a fan of fishing in real life, and yet there was a charm about River Legends from its beautifully done pixel graphics to its (minimal) RPG elements that had me instantly hooked from the moment I saw it previewed on Pocket Gamer. The controls are rather intuitive based on what I know of real fishing and translating this to a touch screen device.

There is a bit of trial and error just like in real fishing that requires patience, but that’s where the RPG elements come into play. You definitely want to start with the smaller fish and work your way up from there, the gold and experience you earn enable you to acquire better equipment and gain access to new locations. While there’s not a lot going on besides the fishing itself, I really loved finding the perfect nature spots in my travels and I think it’s the perfect game to come back to anytime you just want to chill.

Chad Jones

River Legends is a nice, subtle, minimalistic retro style fishing game. There is not too much more to the game which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on what you like. It's a simple walk around a pond, fish off the dock, off the bank, buy waders and fish in the water and that's about all there is. There are different locations to unlock and there is a store to buy different accouchements to aid you but there really is only 12 of them to buy and earning enough coin means doing a lot of fishing (as in catching 1 fish = 1 coin, larger fish are worth more but are harder to catch).

The controls took a minute to get used to at first, the process of reeling fish in is a bit wonky at times (especially the larger fish) and can be somewhat stressful at times in doing so. I can see this being a game I can just relax with or if I'm in line at the market but not enough addictive draw for me to want to keep playing it all the time/every day.

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Stephen Gregson-Wood
Stephen Gregson-Wood
Stephen brings both a love of games and a very formal-sounding journalism qualification to the Pocket Gamer team.