When I grow up, I want to be one of the harvesters of the sea
If golf is a great way to ruin a walk, fishing must therefore be the best way to ruin a perfectly good drowning. Traumatizing the most food-motivated creature on earth is a reasonably relaxing pastime, don’t get me wrong, but when I’d go out on the lake with my father, he’d always over-coach. I don’t even know how that’s possible, but that man found a way.
Cocoto Fishing Master found its way into my collection because my husband really loves the fish on the cover. “It’s just so happy!” he’d exclaim, using this playful but unspellable vowel pronunciation that we’ve developed over our years of being that really weird couple. So, while seeking my next kusoge to write about, I figured I could do worse than a game that is only in my collection because of the cover art.
I was also hoping that Cocoto Fishing Master might secretly be good. There’s a lot of potential in fantasy fishing games that has only been tapped into by smaller titles. Sometimes you stick your hand into a hole and just hope it’s not full of spiders.
We’re going to need a bigger boat
You play as some sort of horrible, naked imp thing. I keep telling my unknowable patron god that this is exactly why I don’t do more dark conjuring. There’s always the possibility of getting some buff, sexy demon, but chances are equally good that you’ll get some horrid little toddler. If I wanted something ugly and fleshy messing up my unholy altar, I’d just buy a hairless cat.
In any case, this disgusting imp is trying to revive some dead god using the forbidden art of fishing. There are five levels, and in each of them, your goal is to catch one of each type of fish there. You give it to a turtle who exchanges them for special bait. Then you duke it out with some big monster, and after you’ve gained their mutual respect, they’ll give you a piece of a… thing.
Don’t break your line in a boss battle. That means you lose your special bait and have to catch one of every fish again. I can’t express in text how prodigious that kind of frustration this is. It is a pain beyond the most intricate description the most prolific poets could conjure. So instead, I’m just screaming at my screen, hoping that it reaches the help I need.
It’s okay to eat fish ’cause they don’t have any feelings
Do you remember how amazing fishing was in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time? It was transcendent. Not necessarily the most realistic depiction of the hobby, but it was so nuanced that it’s hard to believe it was just some side activity in one of the N64’s grandest adventures.
Cocoto Fishing Master was not only released on the PS2 – the version I’m playing on a PS3 – but also on WiiWare, which seems to have been its primary target. I say this because, as I’m playing the three mini-games that make up fish catching, I realize that this was no doubt created for waggle control. The actual reeling, for example, is clearly supposed to allow for more subtle movements, but they mapped it to the X button. This means your reel has two modes: stop and go. It’s so easy to break your line if your attention lapses for a moment, and even when you’re concentrating, it’s hard to manage tension.
I’m going to give it some credit and assume that this was made more for the pressure-sensitive buttons on the PS2 that everyone immediately forgot existed and aren’t there on the PS3, but that’s still stupid. The only time I ever realized those buttons were analog was when I couldn’t figure out why my dude kept throwing weak punches and my car was going slower than everyone else’s. No one can remember that feature because we’ve all repressed the shared trauma.
The five levels that you fish through are all basically the same. They’ve got slight aesthetic differences, but you’re always in the middle of a lake. It’s always murky, so you can’t see far into the distance. A shoreline would have been nice, but considering what a prick it is whenever you want to cast near one of the shops, any additional obstacles would have just made things intolerable.
That’s the short and long of it. No, wait, you can sell fish in one shop and buy bait in a shop that is in a different place for some unfathomable reason. Your boat is so slow you’d swear you were sailing the seas of cheese. Also, the freakish little imp casts from the side of the boat, but in the direction the bow was pointing. What I mean is that when you decide you want to cast your line, the boat spontaneously pivots 90 degrees so the crimson nether-child can cast. I only bring this up because it threw me off for so long. I kept turning the boat, overthinking the direction he was going to cast, and it was really difficult to break this habit.
It’s also important to point out that while the repetitive and shallow content might be a little strange to see on a physical disc, Cocoto Fishing Master makes more sense on WiiWare. It was $7. I can point to better games that you can get for less than $7, but I also have to admit that it’s not an unreasonable amount to pay. The developer, Neko Entertainment, generally swam around in these family-friendly shovelware pools, and Cocoto was one that they kept fishing in from 2004 to 2014.
Here’s what’s upsetting. Cocoto is the name of the horrible imp I’ve been complaining about this whole time, so his nauseating face has been pasted across numerous WiiWare icons. I have no data to support this, but I’m going to assume that WiiWare never really took off because people browsing the shop kept on seeing this crimson freak and were compelled to become violently ill. That’s what I’m saying: WiiWare sucked because of Cocoto Fishing Master.
But that fish is just so happy! It’s worth it for the cover art!