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Ridiculous Fishing

Ridiculous Fishing: Strategy Guide, Tips, and Tricks

4:00 PM on 04.06.2013 // Niero Desu

Requires a ridiculous amount of time

Destructoid loves Ridiculous Fishing. We can't stop talking about its clever design, quirky vernacular, and unmistakable prismatic aesthetic. Whenever I see strangers on the train playing the likes of trashy iOS games like Candy Crush I want to elbow them in the eye and show their remaining good eye what they're missing. 

Backstory: Billy is a man with a mysterious past, out for the sort of redemption that requires lazer-guided bazookas and isolated fishing vessels. Reel men. Fishing is Billy's chi. Help him cast his lure to the deepest depths of the ocean without touching a single fish, attempting to lure the rarest catch, then grabbing everything valuable in sight on the way up.

Once your catch is flung into the air you'll use pistols, rockets, and multi-touch semi-automatic weapons to turn it into cash, allowing you to purchase ridiculous upgrades. America was created so this game could someday exist, and this guide attempts to help you enjoy 100% of your $2.99 iOS purchase. Don't worry, there are no other opportunistic in-app game purchases you must be subjected to. Amen, Vlambeer.

Pace yourself -- you can't just run and gun through it in a few hours. There are hats, man.

While Ridiculous Fishing might appear to play like a straightforward variant of a bullet-hell game, there's a little more depth (sorry) than meets the eye. For example, some fish only appear during specific real-life hours of the day (try advancing iOS clock to daytime, nighttime, and midnight). Some will spawn depending on which clothing you're wearing. Certain fish can cause a silent combo chain to expedite the lure's rise to the surface, and non-linear Metroidvania strategies are the only way to unlock the rarest of creatures.

Basic Mechanics

  • Scheme. Once you're on the boat you can do one of two things: touch the jiggling thing (that's supposed to be Billy's phone, which opens your in-game menu) or tap anywhere to go fishing. You may also pause the game on the right. That covers 33% of the controls.
  • Go deep. Tilt your phone or tablet to avoid fish on the way down. You can later purchase a chainsaw item to cut through obstacles by holding down your finger, and perform tactical hovers and attacks on the way back to the surface.
  • Snatch up. Touch as many fish as you can on the way up. Anything that resembles a jelly fish is bad news. You'll want to collect them at least once for the first time, but otherwise they simply deduct from your score. Some jellyfish even multiply on contact, so avoid them at all cost. Jelly jerks is more like it. As you collect new species of fish, more maps will open up, allowing you to earn more money faster by having access to more valuable fish by starting mid-level in treacherous waters. I mention this now so you don't waste time grinding early levels: There will be plenty of time to do this after as you seek out rare fish later on.
  • Shoot down. Once your lure resurfaces all of the fish are thrown into the air. Tap the fish to blow them to smithereens. Initially you're limited to a single finger, but later you can purchase multi-touch weapons for massive damage. You knew a crab boss joke was coming, get over it.

The Grind

  • When you've got some cash, go back to the surface tap Billy's phone to open the shop menu. Minor annoyance: Any time you have enough money to buy something the cash register sequence will say "1 new item" when it really means "you can afford 1 thing," not that a new unlockable has appeared. Learn the prices and set goals in your head to save yourself some time checking back and forth. 
  • Sound plays an important factor: listen for gasoline warning and depletion instead of taking your eyes off of the lure to see your gas meter.
  • The Byrdr is a mock Twitter app that allows you to perform real re-tweets the quirky dialogue between the game characters. Not particularly useful, but pretty funny stuff. As you unlock areas, species, and items new content will appear here. While on the topic of Twitter, you might want to follow the developer.
  • Buy the Fishopedia from the shop as soon as you can to get some visual and text clues on where to find the first 40 or so basic fish. The rest require creative experimentation.

The Shop Explained:

  • Reels determine how deep you can fish. Buy them these upgrades when you're skilled enough to touch the bottom of an area and want to go deeper.
  • Guns take the fish out once you've pulled them above water. Most valuable fish take quite a few shots to take down, so experiment on which best suits your play style. Some fire explosives in slow progression while others are snappier but issue less damage per shot.
  • Lures help you snag fish on the way to the surface. 
  • Tech is what really helps you immediately suck less: items that help you recoup from your mistakes and shortcomings as a player. You can purchase Toasters and Blow-Dryers ($2,300!) to allow you to make mistakes without being interrupted on the way down, and items like the Bowling Ball will let you begin levels halfway through to make grinding less painful. You can also use your fuel to slow the drill on the way up to nab rare fish.
  • Misc alters the look of your character, boosts the sale value of fish, and what you wear may help you increase the odds of finding rare fish. The Emperor's Robe, for example, doubles the resale value of the fish. Each upgrade is pricey, but pays for itself over time. Why someone would pay a bounty for exploded fish parts full of lead is beyond me.

Purchasing Order:

  • The chainsaw, upgrades for your chainsaw, and more fuel for your chainsaw are the cheapest and most useful upgrades to help you score big despite your lack of skills. Even as you get better that chainsaw will be your primary saving grace, so master it!
  • To unlock all the fish in the first three areas (to unlock the infinite mode) of the map you'll need to buy the deepest Reels.
  • You may want to purchase the cheap tech in-between deep reels after you've found a gun that best fits your style. I'll get to that in a second: 
  • The most expensive gun in the game isn't necessarily the best for all players. There aren't any "bad" mid-tier weapons in this game, just some that are slower than others. If you know your accuracy sucks you'll want to compensate with automatic weapons like the Uzi or Mini-Guns. If you're a natural marksman go for the stronger Shotguns, Bazookas, and Magnums. The game doesn't seem to force your play style either way.
  • You can't see anything under 250 or so meters unless you've purchased one of the two lantern upgrades. If you make it that far and don't own one, fire up the chainsaw and wiggle your screen hoping for the best. 

Map Order:

  • There are four basic maps: Home Waters, Stormy Seas, Arctic Floes, and The Maelstrom. As soon as map is unlocked, you can move back and forth at anytime.
  • The first three levels are relatively shallow and have quasi-boss characters at the end of them, and depending on your actions you can make other special rare fish appear only in the deep. Defeating some of the larger fish will make special apparel appear in the store, like a squid hat.
  • You don't have to beat the third boss to unlock the fourth level: simply focus on gathering more unique species by purchasing reels to unlock it. The Maelstrom is the best place to grind for cash, so the faster you arrive the faster you can get great items.

Common Sense:

  • You can't do a quick rage-quit of a failed run, so boost often. The best way to boost is by making short, light taps to make it last. Don't hold it down unless you really need to.

  • Get comfortable. How you sit and how you cradle the device will greatly determine how nimble your motions will be, and your game session fatigue level. If you want to smear your chest with Cheetos crumbs in bed then be my guest, but you're likely to get better results by keeping both elbows out and keeping your back straight. Hunching slightly down also puts the center of gravity in your favor, giving you better tilt precision. Videogames are serious business, especially if you have an older heavier tablet working those biceps.

  • "The cheap upgrades suck more than the expensive upgrades." -Socrates (probably). No, seriously, max out every item category before trying to max out your Fishopedia or you're just making things harder for yourself.  As stated in the purchase order: If your weapon is good enough to knock out most fish in the air, focus on chainsaw and gasoline upgrades, but you'll want to get everything.
  • As soon as you upgrade your drill with some gas, you're going to be tempted to just barrel down with the drill blazing, cutting everything in sight. Its fun, but its the easiest way to lose fast. Pace yourself and only use the drill as a life saver and you'll go much deeper.

Navigating the fish Matrix:

  • Look ahead of the lure, period. Don't look at your meter, don't look at your gas, don't look at the sides of the screen. Burn your eyeballs a few notches past your lure and learn to master your hitbox as you would with any bullet-hell shooter.

  • Not all fish are procedurally drawn. There are definitive schools of fish that you can predict encountering at a certain meter limit, like the first two dense clusters of House Boat snails in the Stormy Seas. You can learn some parts of the level, and strategically save gas for the areas that give you the most trouble.

  • Don't navigate the entire screen trying to dodge objects at random. Hold your ground and move out of the way as needed, taking the time to understand patterns and make mental marks of what depths the severe bottlenecks are located. Some are just easier to drill through than navigate. Resist temptation to just jam down the drill: pump it like a car break as needed. You'll get way more mileage this way than a panicked descent down.

  • Tunnel vision will be the end of you. Keep the screen a decent distance away from your face and look for the openings before they touch your ship. After awhile your focus will rarely be on your ship, but rather where you want to be instead
  • The best place to grind cash for items, hands down, is the Maelstrom.  You're earning the most dollars per minute here than the other sites, overall. I would recommend rushing through the other parts and arriving here ASAP to enjoy the best retirement.

Catching The Rarest Fish

  • Not all rare fish are sitting at the bottom of the ocean. Keep your eyes peeled for fast-moving fish near the surface of the early levels as well. Some fish only appear once per level. Most fish marked as "location unknown" are deep in the Maelstrom.

  • A fish is considered captured when killed underwater, in the air, or when tech is used. It is absolutely worth ruining a good run and smashing through all your second-chance items just to catch one species you've never seen before, as some spawn very rarely.

  • This rare fish guide demonstrates how to catch everything. I did notice that certain conditions across other guides vary, so there may be multiple ways to make certain fish appear. I liked this one because it has pretty pictures and was written by a real human.

  • Setting your iOS system clock to midnight, evening, and daytime can affect the availability of creatures, like the Mimic and the sea horses. "Hey, Rich Girls."

  • Many of the ultra-rare fish are not available until you've reached far enough in one of the levels to view the game credits. This is what the Fishopedia means by "come back in the future."
  • This Twitter account has more great fishing tips.


A developer from Vlambeer was gracious enough to personally review our guide for unsucky-ness. He would like to add these two sagely pieces of advice:  

  • Avoid the carrier fish, they will screw you up.
  • Use chainsaw during descend on high-value, high-strength fishes. They earn you the same amount of money when killed by the chainsaw.

Do you have tips of your own that you'd like to share?  Sound off in the comments below!

Niero Desu, Blogsmith
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