I may have said it before but every game with fishing in it is a good game… just in a different way. NieR Replicant was potentially my game of the year in 2021 – and it had fishing in it. NieR Automata was great and it had fishing in it. Hades and Stardew Valley also have fishing in them – and they’re great games. My point is: There is something so relaxing and chill about fishing in video games that it just upgrades every game that it is in. Skyrim’s Legendary Edition added fishing as well, after all! Simply legendary.
Developer: EM Games Publisher: EM Games, Sedoc LLC Genre: Fishing, Relaxing, Indie, Collectathon Release Date: February 11th, 2022 Reviewed on: PC Available on: PC Copy was provided by the publisher.
Today’s game is equally relaxing as it is legendary. Isle of Jura is a relaxing 3D fishing game with Collectathon mechanics that you definitely gotta check out! To finish her biology report, Alex takes a trip to Jura, a beautiful and remote island where she’ll fish for different species to document and fill her journal with. There, you’ll meet Donald, an old friend of your granddad, who will provide you with the necessary gear for your fishing adventure.
To start things out, you’ll just explore the small island for a little while. It truly isn’t the biggest place in the world but it has plenty of places to fish at, aka plenty of opportunities. With the sea all around it but also ponds, rivers, and lakes, Jura is a fishing paradise! In the beginning, you’ll get eased into it as you explore shallow waters with a fishing net that allows you to catch all sorts of critters from newts and frogs to crabs, snails and hermits. Those get documented automatically, so you can read their entries and your records in the journal at any time. Once you have a few, you can sell them off and buy new equipment with the cash that you just made. Hooray. The net’s fishing mechanic just relies on you hitting a single “skill-check” akin to Dead By Daylight’s. It’s quite forgiving and definitely not the hardest thing in the world to succeed on.
Once you unlock the fishing rod, you’ll encounter more critters and slightly deeper waters. You won’t be able to fish in the deep sea with this nor in rivers but you certainly will have a good time with more traditional videogame fishing mechanics! Once a fish has bitten, you need to reel it in before it gets away but you also have to watch out – or else the line breaks. Among the many fish you may find, there are trouts, cods and mackerels, so, try to find them all and break records in the process! River-fishing is where it’s at afterwards. Once unlocked, you’ll find yourself doing a fishing minigame more akin to Stardew Valley’s which is incredibly difficult, in my opinion, but still doable. First, you’ll have to lure fish in and then you gotta stay in a target area to catch your prey before you unlock some incredibly adorable prey!
And well, you can also find artefacts that you can display in a museum-like place where it gets analysed. Artefacts range from trash to real treasures. It takes up a slot in your inventory… It’s a fun little gimmick. The collectathon style gameplay is quite fascinating and fun. The progress bar in the journey tells you a lot about how many more fish you’re missing. A bunch of fish are rather rare though and you’ll need to try out all sorts of fishing spots to get to them. Old Don’ probably has a few tips for you but generally, there are only so many spots to fish at, so… it shouldn’t be too hard, right?
The game’s pretty pretty with a low-poly art style that is simplistic yet effective. The art style for the critters and fish you catch is adorable. The music is incredibly relaxing. I love the game to bits but I absolutely hate the camera controls. When I say “camera controls”, I mean the lack thereof. The issue is that you cannot pan the camera at all and at times it gets incredibly annoying as you may end up in a spot where your fishing is obstructed by trees or rocks that are in the way. Similarly, exploration is made more difficult due to the lack of camera controls, which can get a tad infuriating. It’s nothing too major but it’s difficult to deal with and I would have just loved being able to pan the camera with the second stick.
Overall, though, Isle of Jura is incredibly accessible, beginner-friendly, chill and relaxing. It’s quite a lot of fun and you can play through it on a single afternoon if you have good luck with the fish. There are over 50 species of fish to catch, three fishing techniques to master, and the whole thing with the artefacts. My point is, there is a lot to do in the game and you can explore and do it all at your own pace which is very nice and lovely. On top of all that, the game’s developed by a single person that did so over one year, which is pretty impressive. I can really recommend it if you’re looking for a low-cost fishing game to relax to! Give it a try!