Even in the deepest recesses of my mind, where fantasy and the surreal congregate for a quiet picnic beneath some sort of cosmic aurora, I have never daydreamed a scenario where I would make much of a pirate.
I don’t think I have the charisma to lead a band of misfits; I’ve never been all that motivated by materialistic things, ruling out a lifelong obsession with treasure chests and sunken loot, and aside from a frantic doggy paddle, I can’t even swim well enough to warrant a place below deck.
Yet, despite this, I have always had a real affinity with nautical-based adventures. Whether it be a bureaucratic investigation aboard the Obra Dinn, an eldritch horror in the form of Dredge, or a classic like Overboard, I’m always up for unfurling the sail and taking to the seven seas.
This love for the open ocean and the promise of infinite bottles of rum has led me to another pirate adventure in the form of Another Fisherman’s Tale, which sees the player fill the shoes of Bob, the seven sea’s answer to Mr. Potato Head, as you navigate a series of models, solve more than a few tricky puzzles, and uncover the touching story that happens between the tall tales in search of Libertalia.
It’s a game that expands on what has come before in A Fisherman’s Tale, but when all is said and done, the game feels a little too ambitious for its own good, with incredible ideas and concepts that leave a lot to be desired in practice.
That being said, the game has a charming narrative, is an enjoyable, short experience, and for that reason, you might want the full scoop on how this game performs. So without further delay, here is my Another Fishermans Tale Review, conducted on PSVR2.
Don’t Take the Bait
We will begin with the game’s overall aesthetic, which naturally takes a lot of cues from the game that has come before. However, it has to be said that in a lot of ways, this title improves on its predecessor, offering much more crisp animations and cutscenes by comparison.
The game does an excellent job of telling the story through the lens of someone looking on from the periphery of a wooden model, and equally does an excellent job of creating a world that looks like a wood-carved creation, without going too far overboard to the point that breaks immersion.
It’s a style that reminds me of famous stop-motion like The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists, or Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio.
However, As much as I have a lot of love for the art style and the animations on show here, the same cannot be said of the world design for this title, which feels significantly less polished and creative.
Take the opening beach that is largely shrouded in shadows, the Engine Room, or the underwater segment, which by the way, accounts for almost everything the game has to offer. None of these have any sort of ‘wow’ factor and rely largely on the narration and gameplay to keep the player engaged.
The Medium of VR is all about offering an immersive 360-degree setting that players can’t wait to drink in, and this game feels very behind the times in that regard. Which is a shame.
A Buccaneer’s Legacy
Moving onto something a little more positive, the narrative this game has to offer. The story of Another Fisherman’s Tale sees you reliving the tales told by Bob through the lens of his daughter, as you clear out the family home and uncover Bob’s meticulously crafted wooden models.
Which each discovery, you relive the tale that accompanies each model, and are thrust into the action as Bob himself.
The original game was primarily focused on telling grandiose fairytales and fantasies, with just a hint of real-world narrative through Bob’s role as a father, but this game leans further into life outside of Bob’s shenanigans and to great effect.
Naturally, I love the cheesiness of Bob’s heroics as a swashbuckling Buccaneer, and his escapades in this title are no exception. However, it’s the strength of the more emotional scenes that happen in between the puzzles and chintzy humor that really tie this story together.
Uncovering your Dad’s old relics, while dealing with your mother as she slowly slips away before your eyes is something we can all relate to in some way, and grounds a story that is otherwise away with the fairies.
While I’m sure many would compare this game to some sort of Pixar movie, I think it’s more in line with a Pixar short.
A story that condenses action, emotion, and humor down into a bite-size package, and while it would undoubtedly be stronger as a full feature, this boiled-down tale of love, loss, and the quest for freedom is still a pretty captivating one.
Now we move on to the gameplay for this game, which I regularly found myself flip-flopping on like a fresh-caught Trout. At some points, I was enamored by the creativity and the wonderful concepts on offer. However, these moments would inevitably be followed by ones filled with confusion, frustration, or discomfort.
I’ll start with those moments of adoration, though. While I obviously have my hang-ups with this game, one thing I cannot fault is the ambition of the developers, and the ideas presented in this title.
The game takes the admittedly strong foundations of the first title and adds a number of mechanics to give this adventure a fresh new feel.
The detach mechanic is the newest feature that allows you to launch your hands and head like an explosive Mr Potato Head, and also, the player is able to find new limbs to attach as they explore the world.
That might be a pirate’s hook, a crab’s claw, or something a little more situational. This allows the game to get a little more creative with the puzzle concepts on offer, with a blend of climbing and platforming needed to succeed in most cases.
This leads to fun moments where players will need to control their loose hand akin to Thing from The Addams Family, or pop their head off into nearby bird’s nests to get a better view of the map.
However, even though these moments provide fun sections that will have your mouth curl up at one side, it has to be said, there is a lack of variety.
In truth, the player will only have consistent access to three hand types outside of the standard hand, which makes the puzzles a little predictable.
This is somewhat remedied in the latter stages that take place underwater as this changes the physics behind launching your limbs, but overall, it’s a series of mechanics with a lot of potential that flatters to deceive.
Caught in the Undertow
On that note, let’s get into the major shortcomings of this title, beginning with the overall comfort when playing. While I truly adore the concept behind the core mechanics, due to the sheer audacity of each mechanic in practice, nothing ever felt intuitive or comfortable to use.
Movement through teleportation felt awkward, climbing felt a little nausea-inducing, and shooting hands at targets felt a little off too. Not to mention that recentering the camera never actually centered the screen, as it always felt slightly ajar at all times.
These aspects of the game were all annoying, but none were anywhere near as frustrating to use as the hand controls when detached. Whether it was trying to shoot your hand at a target while your severed head was looking on from another location, or you were trying to guide your hand like an RC car, it always felt awkward.
Due to the mirror effect of looking back at your headless body, and the unrefined controls of the hands/arms, this led to moments where I felt like contorting and detaching my own limbs just to get a more accurate shot.
I could somewhat forgive this as this is a pretty unique mechanic, but the problem even persists when in a first-person perspective. Take the crane puzzle, for example. The lack of precision regarding movement tracking here made this an arduous chore, with the only saving grace being that the puzzle was patronizingly easy.
Add in the fact that the game offers a distinct lack of interactive objects of note outside of the puzzle/quest items, and you have a title that has all the potential to be a standout VR experience, but fails to iron out the kinks of what is otherwise a wonderful concept.
Blink, and You Miss it
Then before we pull up the trawl net and see what kind of day’s fishing we have had, I need to also talk briefly about this game’s runtime. It’s alarmingly short. Now, I want to say, I’m not naive to the fact that this game is a VR title, and, as a result, will be naturally shorter than most standard titles.
Even with that in mind, though, this game can be burned through in little over four hours. If your PSVR2’s battery allows you to play a game from start to finish with no interruption, I would say that’s an indicator that the game maybe doesn’t offer value for money.
This is something that I have witnessed to an extent with puzzle VR titles across the board, but in most cases, the puzzles tend to be challenging enough that you will spend a significant amount of time on each, stretching your playtime as a result.
This isn’t the case with Another Fisherman’s Tale, which has very straightforward puzzles that you will breeze through at a steady pace, leading to an experience that feels like it ends before it even gets going.
An antidote to this is usually offering some sort of new game plus, an infinite play mode, some sort of sandbox element, or at the very least, alternate endings.
Sadly, this title doesn’t exercise any of these options, making this a very short experience. I’m generally a fan of games I can pick up and finish in one sitting, but on this occasion, even I felt a little short-changed.
The scores are in, but before that, here are a couple of close alternatives if you have an unquenchable thirst for VR puzzlers. These should satisfy that craving:
- The Last Clockwinder
- A Fisherman’s Tale
- Puzzling Places
- A Rogue Escape
- The Talos Principle VR
Overall, I would say that there is a lot to love about Another Fisherman’s Tale, as it clearly builds on the strong foundation of its predecessor, and offers a handful of fine moments, whether that be through its subtle yet touching narrative, or through its ambitious core mechanics.
However, when the storm quells and the seas are calm once again, you’ll likely share my opinion, that the game lacks quality in some vital areas.
The puzzle designs seem fantastic on paper, but due to the rather awkward mapping of the arms and hands, this leads to you knowing the solution well before you manage to actually put that plan into action.
The game also has peaks and valleys when it comes to its overall aesthetic, with lovely cutscenes and animations, but level designs that feel pretty uninspired by contrast. Plus, the game is over before you know it, with little over 3-hours of actual runtime, and next to no replay value.
The story and voice acting are what make this game a worthwhile venture for VR fans, and those who loved the initial title in the series.
However, for those looking for a unique and worthwhile puzzle title, this game doesn’t deliver on that front. The game has lots of great ideas, but due to pretty lackluster puzzle design, this title finds itself careening toward the rocks.
But as any good pirate will know, there’s usually loot to be found with every shipwreck. So even with its flaws, it might be worth checking out for yourself.
- A subtle yet touching story, weaved around the silliness of Bob’s adventures
- Some incredible mechanical concepts
- Great voice acting
- Uncomfortable controls
- Puzzles lack any sort of challenge or difficulty
- Very short runtime
Callum played this game from start to finish in one sitting, playing for another three hours. There is no platinum on offer, so naturally, that means Callum has checked out and moved on to the next ‘X’ that marks the spot.
Another Fishermans Tale Review: FAQs
Question: Is Another Fisherman’s Tale a Sequel?
Answer: Yes, Another Fisherman’s Tale is a follow-up from the successful VR puzzler, A Fisherman’s Tale was released back in January 2019. Both games in the series were produced by Innerspace VR.
Question: How Many Chapters in Another Fisherman’s Tale?
Answer: There are a total of five chapters in this game. They are a little longer than 2019’s A Fisherman’s Tale, but all in all, players can expect to spend roughly an hour on each.
Question: How Do You Swap Hands?
Answer: Exactly how you might think. You grab a spare hand, whether that be a hook or a crab claw, and you pop it on as if you are roleplaying as a little LEGO person. Simple.