Catch and Release combine the relaxing joy of fishing with the exploration of a stunningly beautiful lake setting. The best VR games transport you to a different place and time and Catch and Release is a shining example of this. Just one man on his boat in a lake surrounded by nature is the perfect tonic for the stresses of modern life.
Catch and Release has simple controls that can be picked up immediately yet betray the deep game hidden beneath the still waters of the lake. A gentle tutorial will have you catching your first fish in a matter of minutes. Soon enough you are left to your own devices with nothing but a notebook giving you tasks to complete. Every time you tick of the tasks on your to-do list they will erase to be replaced by more.
Completing a to-do list will result in better rods and bait being unlocked. Which in turn allows you to catch better and bigger fish. Even the act of fishing, which is simple in itself, becomes a sort of tactical plan before you even cast.
It’s not enough to simply cast your rod and reel fish in. Although this would work. But location on the lake, type of bait used and even whether the bait is stationary or still will determine what kind of fish you snag.
As well as just fishing there is wildlife in the woods to capture on camera. Once you have earned enough money to buy the camera of course.
After you get a bite on your rod the fun begins, actually getting a fish out of the water feels like a genuine battle between man and fish. I have even had some take about 10 mins to land! This gives a real sense of accomplishment in catching fish and makes you want-to progress to bigger fish to prove yourself.
Your trusty notebook lies at the core of everything you do. Need to catch a certain type of fish? Look up the notes for its location and preferred bait. The notebook doesn’t have the answers to everything though. The notes on the legendary fish Slackjaw have gotten wet at some point. They are now smudged and all you have to go on from the start is half of a news article from decades ago.
the only human interaction you have during your time on the lake is your radio. Perched precariously on the bench opposite you in your boat. You can tune the radio into several stations all focused on a certain genre of music. Classic Rock, Blues, Country & Western etc.
There is no licenced music on these stations and they do repeat fairly often. They do however fit the atmosphere of the games perfectly. The soft rock, the dulcet tones of the blues or the twang of country & western. All sublimely add to the feeling you are out in the middle of nowhere all alone. It is calming, relaxing and freeing.
Once again, with most PSVR games it is let down by the controls. This is nothing to do with Catch and Release. The control system is so natural and intuitive. Making excellent use of the Move Controllers button layout. The big problem here is that as PSVR games expand and evolve. The PS3 era move controllers just can’t handle the tracking required. If Sony is truly committed to PSVR and pushing it even further forward. Then they have no choice but to release a controller capable of delivering the experience that these games produce.
I have lost so much time to this game and not regretted a single moment of it. The relaxed chilled environment, the intuitive and natural controls coupled with the serene setting and music. All make Catch and Release one of my favourite escape experiences.
It is so easy to lose hours in this virtual world and at the end of the day didnt, we all get into gaming for a little bit of escapism?
Overall Score – 9/10
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