When it comes to making virtual reality puzzle games Innerspace VR are experts. The studio behind The Corsair’s Curse and Maskmaker first delighted players with the mind-bending A Fisherman’s Tale. A delightful story about a puppet who needs to fix a lighthouse during a storm. Whilst short, the game was playful with its sense of scale and wonder, treating players to some extraordinary puzzles. Another Fisherman’s Tale tries to recapture that early magic as the fisherman recants a brand-new tale.
Bob the fisherman returns once again, but rather than the purely fantastical narrative of the first game Another Fisherman’s Tale adds a more human element. This time around Bob is telling his seafaring stories to his daughter Nina, with the game swapping between the puppet during the main chapters and his daughter who’s reminiscing about these tales. This adds an emotional element that the first game didn’t quite have, a father telling his enthralled child all about these wild adventures.
Especially as they didn’t happen. Because for most of the game, you’re removing various bodily components to solve puzzles.
Hook line and sinker
With Another Fisherman’s Tale Innerspace VR found a gameplay hook – quite literally in some places – and stuck with it. As a wooden puppet, you’re able to remove your head, detach your hands, even have your torso and legs ripped from under you. You then spend portions of your time putting yourself back together after getting into scrapes with various characters.
What this all leads to is essentially a lot of remote-control work. You can fling your hands to grab distant objects, either activating them or bringing them back to you. These aren’t necessarily instantly viewable from one angle, so you might have to throw your head to a new location to get a better view. After which it’s a case of controlling your hand like it’s Thing from The Addams Family, scurrying around through small gaps and up pipes.
You’ll also need to do this with your body, moving the walking lumber around like you’re in some cheesy 90s gameshow. To begin with, this remote work is quite fun, carefully navigating obstacles with one hand whilst trying to turn a lever with the other. Another Fisherman’s Tale certainly takes ambidextrous puzzling to a new level.
However, there were moments when trying to turn the hand simply wasn’t humanly possible. I found myself contorting and twisting my hand and wrist in an ever more bizarre fashion. A sequence in Chapter 2 with a crane was equally erratic, proving to be more cumbersome than fun. Another unwieldy section was the underwater environments. Part physical swimming and part thumbstick acceleration, combine this with removing body parts and it all gets a bit much.
Another Fisherman’s Tale mixes this gameplay up even further using different hands. Swap out your normal five digits for a claw and you can cut rope. Whilst a mechanical hook can be used to rappel to ledges. There’s no way to store these though, meaning there’s no need to wonder what hand is required for each puzzle. Find a claw and you’ll know there’s rope nearby to cut.
Because of this, the puzzles swing wildly from inventive and clever to boring and obvious. Sure, there’s more of them and that’s great, however, the experimentation doesn’t always hit the mark.
What do are the cut scenes in between the chapters. These are fantastic little story segways with interactive elements, looking down over model toys Bob made to bring his stories to life. Wonderful to look at, it again adds that much-needed soul to the narrative, keeping you emotionally connected.
Another Fisherman’s Tale Review
Another Fisherman’s Tale may not evoke the same inspiring magic of the original but it does have its own charm. The studio must be commended for the path it has chosen, rather than simply trying to rework the weirdness of the first game. The body detachment mechanics are novel and for the most part interesting to adapt to. Plus, it’s nice to spend longer in Bob’s world. Coming in at around 5 hours makes Another Fisherman’s Tale feel like a proper game rather than a short VR experience. Easily recommended whether you played the first title or not.