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Game Guys review - Super Black Bass 3D

8:11 PM, Apr 18, 2013   |    comments
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  • 'Super Black Bass 3D' for the Nintendo 3DS.
  • 'Super Black Bass 3D' for the Nintendo 3DS.

The The Black Bass fishing video game franchise goes way back.  It began in 1986 as a Japan-only release on the MSX before releasing on the Nintendo Entertainment System in North America three years later.  Now in its 16th installment with Super Black Bass 3D, developer Starfish SD stocks the pond with a title that just doesn't do such a long-standing franchise justice.

At its core, the Rising Star Games published Super Black Bass 3D is a competitive fishing game.  At least, that's what it's supposed to be.  What it turns out being is futility in practice thanks to a lethal combination of innovatively bad gameplay and an ugly presentation package.

To get the good out of the way as to have more time to focus upon the bad, Starfish SD has one thing going for them in this game: immersive controls.  At least, they would have been had it not been a fear (then the almost reality) of breaking one's 3DS.  You see, one key thing in fishing is casting one's lure.  To do this, players must "cast" their 3DS by means of slowly-but-deliberately flinging it front-to-back.  Not only does this cause the hinge connecting the top- and bottom-screens to scream out in pain, it risks the 3DS itself slipping out of the players hands and landing on the floor.  In the case of this review, the latter happened.  And it didn't happen onto carpet or a nice plush rug.  Oh, no.  It happened on a hard wooden floor.  After popping the SD card door back onto the 3DS and inspecting the unit for damage, the review play session was over - not that there was any disappointment to be had in setting the game down to never again be played. 

Before the 3DS went flying halfway across the dining room, however, a good hour or so of gameplay went by with not so much as a smile to be had.  In fact, the only expressions given while playing Super Black Bass 3D were that of boredom and frustration.  Boredom because, well, even real fishing is more relaxing and enjoyable, and frustration because Starfish SD programmed all of the fishing line in the game to be of a fragile and water-soluble material that breaks at the slightest hint of tugging.  News flash: it's difficult to enjoy a fishing video game if the video game fishing equipment isn't up for the job.

As far as game presentation goes, where does one begin?  Well, the first thing that will grab the player's attention is the audio.  Not only does the game make the buzzing and dinging of a Las Vegas slot machine sound like a Top-40 hit, it's a prime example that some games are best played on mute.  The funny thing is, outside of the menus and dialogue sequences, that's almost what the game sounds like.  It if weren't for the cheaply-recorded swishing sounds the fish make when they take the bait, there would nary be anything to listen to at all.  As far as the graphics are concerned, this barely-in-3D 3DS game looks like it was designed a good 15 years ago (and even then it wouldn't have looked all that great).  Environments are plain, backgrounds look like low-resolution photographs, and there isn't enough beer in the world to make somebody think that the characters themselves look even halfway good.  Plain and simple, this title looks even worse than it plays.

Thanks to ugly and simple graphics, a below-average interface and control scheme, and simply uninteresting play, 3DS owners should consider Super Black Bass 3D catch-and-release only.

6/25 5/25 5/25 9/25 5/25 30/100

Version tested: 3DS

(Rising Star Games supplied a copy of this game for review.)

See how what our review scores mean and how the math adds up.


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