There are few phrases I wouldn't expect to find in a minimalist indie fishing game.
"Teleport to The Conflux," for example.
"We will need to disguise your identity so they won't know who is responsible for this grift," is another.
And: "The beacon transmits information about every teleporter that enters or leaves the lake to the ULT Corp Headquarters."
When I started playing Intergalactic Fishing (opens in new tab), I honestly just wanted to go fishing, but now I'm wrapped up in a deep, dark plot about mysterious underwater anomalies, an apparently evil teleportation corporation, and a secret resistance group trying to take them down.
Which is awesome! I've played a bunch of fishing games (opens in new tab) and they rarely include corporate espionage or teleportation. It's like the developer, Boat Anchor Games (opens in new tab), had an idea for a intriguing sci-fi mystery and an idea for a fishing game and decided to just combine them. I'm fully on board for this.
At first glance, Intergalactic Fishing doesn't look like much. In its top-down view, your boat is a simple circle. Your fishing line is literally a line that sticks out from your boat. Fishing involves basically watching a little status meter. Here, take a look:
But there's a lot going here, both with the fishing and the story. Your little boat (or BOAT, which stands for Buoyant Object for Above-Water Travel) is equipped with a teleporter you can use to visit lakes all over the universe. There are a few dozen established lakes, but also essentially infinite, procedurally generated lakes filled with fish no one has ever seen before. Every fish has its own habits, behaviors, and preferences for lures and environments.
Dissect and study fish and you'll learn more about where they like to hang out, what time of day they feed, and the types of lures that will attract them. You can create your own lures with a neat and fairly complicated utility that lets you determine the size, buoyancy, color, shininess, and noise of each lure. One of the wonderful pleasures of Intergalactic Fishing is teleporting to some unknown, alien lake and fiddling around with the lure creator until you've got a winner and can start reeling in new, never-before-seen fish to examine and sell. You can even name the fish you find and the lakes you discover.
As you earn money by selling fish, completing contracts, or winning fishing tournaments against NPC fishermen, you can upgrade just about everything you own. Buy a bigger boat, purchase more advanced fishing rods, and install modules in your ship or lures that create new possibilities. I'm currently saving up for a short-range teleporter so I can blip from a planet's major lake to small, inland bodies of water. I also have a magnet I can install in my lure for pulling up... secret things... from deep underwater.
And yeah, there's that whole subplot about an evil corporation that has done something to your local lake that's killing all the fish, and an underground resistance movement with its own teleporter technology you can join in an attempt to uncover the truth. You can put aside this storyline whenever you want to just focus on fishing and exploring, but it's hard not to get enthralled by it.
And who knows what else is going on in Intergalactic Fishing? I've already been distracted from the storyline because I found a bottle floating in the water that led me on a treasure hunt, which along the way netted me a treasure hunting module I could install in my ship that led to a riddle and a secret map for a lake on another planet and a nice haul of loot. I played for hours this weekend and feel like I've only begun to scratch the surface of what feels like a pretty deep game.
There are a few issues: the text size is really small on a big monitor, and while there's lots of helpful in-game info on how everything works it can be easy to miss. If you see a tiny question mark on your screen, it'll usually bring up answers on how to do things like change your boat's loadout or how the lure-crafting system works.
So don't be put off by the minimalist graphics of Intergalactic Fishing: Behind them is a neat fishing game that I'm enjoying more and more the longer I play.