Rapala for Kinect Review - Screenshot 1 of 2

This'll surprise you: Rapala for Kinect isn't a fishing simulation in any way. Sure, you can select your lure in the hope of attracting a particular fish, but that's about as deep as it gets.

This is fishing arcade-style: score as many points as you can in the time limit. Your fish is scored on size and rarity, with bonuses for grabbing the "target fish" in each stage. Score highly enough and you move on to the next stage; it couldn't be any simpler.

At the water's edge you aim with your left hand and cast with your right: once the lure's in the water, you can jerk it about to attract fish, with each lure having its own vocal personality, which you'll either find endearing or irritating. Once a fish bites, you have to follow the on-screen prompts to reel it in and deplete its energy bar to zero: it sounds simple, but there are some interesting bits hidden away.

Rapala for Kinect Review - Screenshot 2 of 2

For one, you can choose your 'route' to land the big fish. Each fish's energy depletes at different rates, meaning the really tough fish sap your valuable time, so at certain points you're given three difficulties. Pick easy and you just hover your hand over arrows; medium makes the arrows move; hard gives you full body poses to do, such as the ninja, strongman or disco. These are harder to execute but take more of the fish's energy.

At first it's a lot of fun — you're catching fish by posing after all — but by the fourth or fifth time the fun starts to wear thin. Each fish behaves largely the same and poses even appear in the same order, draining the game of much of its variety. The boss fish can put up a stern challenge but it's more a matter of persistence than skill, and the experience feels hollow because of it. It fares better in multiplayer as up to four can fish — taking it in turns, of course — but there are far better party games out there.

After each round there's also a boat race mini game with terrible controls: you'll jerk all over the place, run into buoys and occasionally collect a power-up. With four rounds per stage and five stages, that's a lot of shoddy racing, with the mode even unlocked on the main menu for those who don't value their free time.


Rapala for Kinect bets hard on its arcade thrills and simplicity, but there's a reason these games used to cost 50p a time: the repetitive gameplay is fun for a spell but soon loses its sheen.