When I think back to my favorite PSVR titles from the original headset, A Fisherman’s Tale comes up pretty quick. The game had an incredible concept for puzzles and a charming, inviting atmosphere that made it easy to get lost in the world.
Now we have Another Fisherman’s Tale on PSVR 2, a sequel that promises to be bigger and more complex than the original, with an entirely new set of mechanics compared to the first one. Much like a real fisherman’s tale, this one gets bigger every time you tell it. Is that enough to top the ingenuity of the first game? Let’s find out.
Certainly a Taller Tale Than it’s Predecessor
While I had seen some of the trailers for Another Fisherman’s Tale, I went into the new game without much knowledge of how it would differ from the first one. For those who didn’t play the original, I sincerely hope they port it to PSVR 2, but in the meantime for comparison’s sake I’ll offer a quick description of the differences.
In the first title, you played as the titular fisherman living inside of a lightouse. The premise of the first game was the you had an environment around you to work with, as well as a replica of the area directly beneath you on a table in the middle of the room.
The game used this environment within an environment hook in spectacular ways, allowing you to manipulate something smaller than yourself to enact change in the larger version in real time. While the scope and size of the original was fairly small, this mechanic was unlike anything else I’d seen in VR at the time.
It stood tall with the greats. Another Fisherman’s Tale offers a different approach, and one that’s at least 4 times longer than the first game, but this time around the mechanics may feel a little more familiar, though still unique in their own way.
The game begins with narration from our fisherman and sets up a small story on a tropical island where you can get your bearings and learn the ropes. The premise this time around is that you can detach your head and hands from your body to solve puzzles.
Now, keep in mind, your character is a wood puppet so while this concept may sound like a horror game, it’s still very family friendly. In fact, the tone of the story is one of my favorite elements. Yes, the dialogue tends to go on for a while, which I know some may find instrusive, but I liked the style and voice acting for the narration a lot.
The game also introduces a meta element to explain why you’re playing as a puppet, who is telling the story, and more. It was an excellent addition that added depth to the world and some fun explanations for how things work. I won’t spoil it here, but suffice to say, the story this time around does a great job of pulling the scope out and going beyond just a quirky tale and into something more heartfelt and moving.
While the story is a clear improvement from my perspective, the gameplay is better and worse than the original in a few ways. On the one hand (pun intended), it’s very cool to have the option to launch your head to nearby places and change your perspective as a result. The same goes for your hands, which can be detached and launched to remote places.
Whether you’re controlling your body or manipulating your hand remotely, the controls revert to a sort of tank style reminiscent of older games. This means that you’ll need to rotate yourself in the direction you wish to go before moving forward.
It’s not too bad when controlling your body remotely, but hands offer a different challenge. It starts by turning the PSVR 2 controller in the appropriate hand to rotate the hand in a circle. This works well for the most part, but too often the game requires precise movements with your detached hand that are simply too difficult to pull off with these tank-style controls.
I would have preferred the option to shift the camera to your hand’s perspective so you can control it in first person, but I know this would have broken the mechanic where your head can be detached and placed in other areas for camera shifts.
It’s wildly inventive though, don’t get me wrong. I was laughing manically navigating my hand through rising and falling pistons inside of a ship’s engine, but it was less exciting when I had to watch what I was doing through a small barred window, often leaving me without direct view of my hand when I ran into a corner. This results in either trial and error until the hand crawls back into view, or recalling it to your arm, forcing you to start the sequence over.
These moments were never frustrating enough to stop me from playing, but I did find the pacing suffering from awkward moments of my hand being somewhere that I can’t see, forcing me to worm my way out of it by randomly rotating and running until it came back into view.
It’s not just standard hands though, you can also swap out your digits for something else like a crab claw, a hook, and others. These unlock abilities that let you cut, climb, and swing around the environment.
Since Another Fisherman’s Tale doesn’t have an inventory system, you’ll have to pick up and drop these alternate hands as you go. This means that every puzzle required the developers to ensure the proper appendages were within reach. It takes a little of the difficulty out of the equation when you know the proper tools are nearby and only have so many uses.
While the puzzles and mechanics of Another Fisherman’s Tale offer some truly unique and fun ways to navigate and solve them, some of the shortcomings or potential roadblocks, like not being able to see where your detached hand is going, detract from the charm of the story and the bright “ah hah” moments that make me feel like I’m playing the first game again.
Charming, Stylish, but Simple Presentation
Another Fisherman’s Tale is a colorful and fun sight to behold in the PSVR 2 headset. The game uses some of the haptic feedback to great effect as well, like how the headset rumbles as you charge up your ability to launch your head across the environment.
There’s some nice variety to the environments too, given the scope of the adventure. I also enjoyed the way the game plays with perspective as you can sometimes see out into the “real world” that the game is set within.
The voice acting is fun as well, and while the dialogue can certainly be intrusive and ongoing, it’s really the subtitles that I found most distracting. I normally like to play with subtitles, but in VR I usually prefer them off, and that’s not an option here at launch.
While it’s not quite as impactful as the first game, Another Fisherman’s Tale proves that this studio has a lot of big and fun ideas. I certainly would have liked a few modifications to how the camera system works (beyond throwing your head around), but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a grin on my face for much of this charming adventure.
Final Score: 8.0/10
Article by – Bradley Ramsey
Insert date – 5/16/2023