The Night Fisherman Review
A short interactive tale, Far Few Giants and De Fault The Night Fisherman tells of a fisherman, an Englishman, and a seascape draped in twilight. Should players climb aboard, or does this tale not hold water?
The Night Fisherman Review
As one would expect from the title, players take control of the fisherman Mr. Gardiner on a small boat. Sailing the seas in search of his next catch, he is soon visited by Churchill of the English Protection Group. Striking up a conversation with this armed man, he discusses his vocation, the state of the world, and what he is currently doing out this time of night.
However, one quickly learns that things are not what they seem. Churchill is known as the kidfisher, and he is on a mission to stop the smuggling of immigrants into England. There’s just one problem – you currently have an immigrant hidden onboard. Needless to say, things get very tense very quickly, and you quickly learn how diabolical this visitor really is.
This premise sets the stage for a standoff between the two, but The Night Fisherman just doesn’t take things far enough. Set up like a visual novel, the only control players are given is between two different options at key points of the story. Some choices, like which type of bait to use, have little impact on the world. However, one would expect heavier decisions dealing with compliance to matter more.
No matter which option players choose, the story remains largely the same. We played through the title multiple times and saw little chance between each option. The average playthrough clocks in at around 15 minutes depending on how fast one reads the dialog, so hypothetically players can see every single outcome in around a half hour. There is the option to see the world from different perspectives, but it’s insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Note that there are no achievements in this title, though the development team did leave a message at the end that future short stories are planned in the coming months.
With this short length, there’s just not enough runway to actively convey a long form story. It dangles an interesting premise in front of the player, then forgets to do anything with it. The illusion of choice also hurts the game as well – with a lack of variety between playthroughs and little input from the player, The Night Fisherman could have just as well worked as a short film, as opposed to a video game.
The presentation of this title is commendable though. Though it is low poly and dark by nature, it still manages to stand out with its own unique style. Sound design is somewhat limited, mostly relegated to crashing waves and the occasional sound effect, but it does set the eerie and ominous mood of the game quite well.
The narrative of The Night Fisherman sets the stage for something great, but the short length and illusion of choice lacks the follow-through to really make an impact.
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