Farm Frenzy: Gone Fishing takes the Farm Frenzy series in a slightly new direction: to the water! Instead of messing about with chickens, cows, and sheep, your new friends are fish of all types (and maybe even a mammal). While the basic set-up remains the same, the new visual direction breathes a bit of life into the game, and as always, a Farm Frenzy title is bound to keep you busy for many afternoons on end.
If you've never played a Farm Frenzy game, you're missing out on one of the most beloved casual time management series of all time. The basic design goes something like this: you're running a farm, trying to make money and meet other goals within each level. You start with a basic animal that produces a simple product — in this case, salmon who drop baskets of red caviar. These ground-level goods can then be loaded on a truck (in this case, a boat) and sold in town for a little cash, allowing you to feed your animals and repeat the cycle.
Instead of straight-up selling your caviar, though, Farm Frenzy allows you to do much more. Buy a salting plant to turn refined caviar into something better. Sell that upgraded product or use it to create something even more complex that sells for a higher price. The list goes on until your simple product becomes something vastly different — and vastly more profitable! Manage your cash wisely, though, as you'll need it to purchase buildings in each level as well as to buy food for your salmon.
The same distractions and dangers are also abound in Farm Frenzy: Gone Fishing, including (quizzically), bears. Even in shallow waters bears will drop from the sky and terrorize your fish, knocking away your valuable egg-layers unless you click and cage them as soon as possible. The upgrade shop is still available between levels, allowing you to purchase refining stations or upgrade your warehouse, ship, helicopter, and bear cage to be more efficient. Patience, though, as you'll need to claw your way through a dozen or more levels before you can go on a purchasing spree.
Analysis: No matter how familiar we are with the Farm Frenzy series, there's always a bit of excitement when a new one hits the market. With the previous games, very little had changed from the third in the series, adding a new theme or a few new products to craft. With Gone Fishing, the story is about the same, though there are some subtle differences that are worth noting. Overall, expect quite a bit more challenge in this Farm Frenzy game, with stage goals tougher to hit, more bears terrorizing your pond, and gold medals a little further out of reach. Plus, there are almost 100 stages to work through and an unlockable endless mode.
The new visual style is just as bouncy and crisp as the other Farm Frenzy games. The new refining machines animate with happy, squishy animations that are hypnotic to watch. All of the animals have personality, even the seahorses, sturgeons and bears, so you'll never feel shortchanged in the graphics department.
If you've been following the Farm Frenzy series, you'll encounter the chief drawback of Gone Fishing: it's still the same old formula. Sure, we enjoy that formula quite a bit, but after half a dozen games, it's time for something new. It's the same old core of a game found in the other Farm Frenzy games, but Gone Fishing still comes off as an entertaining and well-made experience.