Another Fisherman’s Tale is a short but unique VR puzzle game, based around the increasingly ridiculous tall tales of adventurer Bob, as the player attempts to unravel the story of Bob’s quest to find the lost city of Libertalia. But tall tales always have a hint of the truth nestled amongst the fantastic, and through these outlandish tales we begin to discover the true story of Bob: his failures, his triumphs, his hopes, and his fears.
Unfortunately, unraveling that tale is equal parts rewarding and frustrating, with the control scheme often making simple tasks far more complicated than necessary. At its core, Another Fisherman’s Tale is a puzzle game, centered around incredibly creative and varied set pieces which Bob must escape. To do so you must make use of Bob’s detachable limbs – yes, detachable limbs. Bob can launch his hand, control it while detached from his body, and then reel it back in. This is incredibly useful in reaching items or areas which Bob himself is too large to navigate. Bob can also launch his head to nearly any visible platform, which allows the player to gain a better perspective of the area while retaining control of Bob’s headless body. Spicing up the proceedings is Bob’s ability to replace his hands with a variety of other tools, including a grappling hook, a crab hand, and various mechanical hands which can control much larger contraptions.
Bob’s abilities are both unique, and clumsy. I do partially believe that this is intentional – It can’t be easy to control your disembodied hand while watching from afar with your also disembodied head, and as such it makes sense that this would not be easy in the game. But often the control scheme borders on rage inducing, as you’ll find yourself with a clear idea of how to accomplish your goal but struggling with getting your body parts to play along. This does sort of resolve itself as the adventure progresses since you’ll naturally become more aware of how to properly control your hands, but around the time it all clicks the game ends.
Essentially, controlling the hand requires two steps. First, you detach the hand. This is simple enough, you just launch it in the direction it needs to go. It does become a bit cumbersome to aim when your head is detached and you are attempting to find a precise angle while controlling your body from afar, but it is doable with patience. Once your hand is detached, you can control it, which involves holding R2 and twisting your Sense controller in the direction you want to go. This is where most of the confusion comes in – it is extremely hard to get your hands to face the right direction, making it a slog to get them where you need them to go. This is most glaring when you are tasked with navigating tight spaces with little visibility. It’s a shame, because I truly enjoyed figuring out how to progress, but often got frustrated actually obtaining the item I needed to do so. Ultimately though, I found the game charming enough to continue through despite this issue.
Still, that frustration aside, I found myself continually impressed with the sheer variety, scale, and creativity of the puzzles on display. Chapters may have you grappling up hooks to climb a wall, using crab hands to cut rope, attaching fish tails to explore underwater shipwrecks, controlling your hands to navigate tricky mazes inside machinery, taking control of cranes to move obstacles, clearing away explosive barrels from inside a submarine, or wildly swinging massive hands to clear obstacles – sometimes all in one chapter. While short, the game continuously throws new puzzles at Bob, each of which makes use of his unique abilities and tests your problem-solving skills.
The game is broken down into chapters, with jumps to modern day where you assemble small models of each level before diving into the story of that area. The game has a few cutscenes scattered throughout, all of which look great and feel as if you are watching toys within the models you’ve created act out the tale. Throughout his adventure Bob will navigate a lonely island, swim through the depths of the ocean, take rides on boats and submarines, battle fierce sea creatures, and more. The story is constantly one-upping itself and leaving viewers delighted with each new set piece they encounter.
As a whole, Another Fisherman’s Tale is an absolute blast, with each area being a joy to explore, play around in, and figure out the solution to. The game is only hampered by its unwieldy controls, which often cause the solution to be much harder to obtain than it would otherwise be and dampens the joy of the experience a bit. Of course, there may be some that have no issue with the controls, and for those this game would be an easy must play, for everybody else you may need to head into this experience with patience, willing to put up with a bit of grief so you can ultimately experience this game’s heartfelt story and creative set pieces.
Richard Allen is a freelance writer and contributing editor for various publications. When not writing for Gaming Trend you can find him covering theatre for Broadway World, movies and TV for Fandomize, or working on original stories. An avid retro gamer, he is overly obsessed with Dragon's Lair. Chat with him via @thricetheartist on Twitter and @richardallenwrites on Facebook and Instagram.
Another Fisherman's Tale
Another Fisherman’s Tale is a charming, unique, and well-crafted puzzle game with creative set pieces and a heartfelt story, but unfortunately is let down by an unwieldy control scheme and a short three-to-four-hour long campaign. Still, the story of Bob and his adventures is worth diving into for its sheer creativity and uniqueness.