Bit Golem’s Ultimate Fishing Simulator ends up providing a great deal of fishing fun. Yeah I know fishing games, for the most part, is as exciting as watching two earthworms mating, but at least the fish fight back in this game.

I was happily surprised at how engrossing the struggles were between angler and fish, which at times took on varying proportions of satisfaction. The mouse-driven interface is intuitive and easy to learn, yet doesn’t overly complicate the challenge. There are a handful of locations in which to fish ranging from lakes, bays all the way to the deep blue sea. You can even try your luck at ice fishing which requires the delicate art of bobbing your lure up and down.

Rounding off the large assortment of locations, Ultimate Fishing Simulator offers up two game modes to test your fishing skills. Normal mode allows the player to simply cast and catch without investing an enormous amount of downtime associated with real fishing. Realistic mode, on the other hand, requires patience and a more pragmatic approach to fishing, such as selecting the correct combination of rods, lures, hook size and bait.

Graphically, the game does a good job of replicating fish movements and the surrounding environments well. From the ripples on the water top to the life-like swaying of the foliage, everything feels as if you’re actually outside. If I had to nitpick, however, it would be on the fish mechanics itself. For one, when a fish strikes, it doesn’t feel like a strike at all; it simply swims up to the lure and sucks the hook in like a vacuum. In real life, the float should be dragged underwater and not just bob up and down as it does here.

Scenes like this make you feel like you’re really outdoors. Don’t forget to pack the mosquito repellent and the sunblock.

The controls and sounds, on the other hand, are top notch. Owners of force feedback controllers are in for a treat as they feel the jerking and pulling being done at the end of their rods. Once you catch a fish, you can opt to sell or have it stuffed and showcased in your very own trophy room. For those who have reservations about killing virtual fishes – don’t worry, as the game offers an option to catch and release your aquatic friends.

Ultimate Fishing Simulator offers an engrossing single and multiplayer experience equipped with tournaments and leaderboards. The developers have been actively updating the game on a consistent basis so you know they are in it for the long haul. I have to admit that I’ve really enjoyed my experience with this game, which is saying a lot considering I’m not an avid fisherman. It’s fun, challenging and it provides hours of relaxing gameplay all from the comfort of your home. Even those who aren’t into this genre are sure to have fun with it.