Natsume are still making fishing games today, you have most likely played one of the games in the Reel Fishing series. Over 10 years ago, Natsume were working on a different fishing franchise, Legend of the River King was one of the earlier fishing games, but how does it compare to the likes of Reel Fishing today?
What we love about Legend of the River King is that it isn't so much a fishing simulator, but more of an RPG game in it's own right. Whilst it heavily relies on fishing elements, Legend of the River King is also very much like an RPG game, it features elements of exploration and even battles, like you would find in your average Gameboy era RPG.
Fishing itself is much akin to the fishing system that we have seen in Animal Crossing in recent years. It's a simple system that sees you casting out your rod and waiting for a fish to be attracted to the bait, we'd use more technical terms but we're not really that well up in fishing. However, the difficulty comes in the fact that there is no real guidance to fishing. It does work, but it takes a little while to get to grips with how to fish.
There's also the option to speak to various characters in the various towns you come across as you venture on the quest to the River King. You'll also come across the option to purchase more bait and upgrade your fishing rods. It's little functions like this that make the game interesting and add quite a twist compared to other fishing games.
The battle system is nothing too complicated, but we were quite impressed that it actually exists. For a fishing game, to have RPG elements that heavy, it's quite a credit to Natsume. It's a basic turn-based system that we've seen many times before, however, it still manages to feel fresh.
The graphics are very similar to Pokemon games, and are surprisingly quite detailed for their era. There's a great palette of colours included in the game, which is nice to see. The music is nothing really too memorable, and is again quite similar to that of Pokemon games.
In conclusion, Legend of the River King presents a few nice ideas and is certainly a solid RPG game. However, it may appear a little unaccessible to newcomers to the series and it could be considered as a little short to satisfy some gamers. + Josh Moorcroft-Jones
7/10 - Legend of the River King is a great fusion of both RPG and fishing elements.