Baobab Studios has built a reputation for adorable, finely crafted virtual reality (VR) experiences. Not videogames, more interactive movies like Namoo, Bonfire and Crow: The Legend. But its most famous characters came from Baobab’s earliest projects, Asteroids! and Invasion! These starred two hapless alien friends Mac and Cheez, who get into various scrapes. So it’s great to see them return for the studio’s very first videogame, as we review Galactic Catch.
Unusually, I wasn’t expecting Baobab Studios’ first VR game to be a fishing one! This isn’t a simple chill and fish kind of game, however, you’re on a mission to save Mac and Cheez! They decided to take a break on an iridescent world full of aquatic life. Being the two bumbling aliens they are, the duo soon find themselves gobbled up by a giant marine animal. As their robotic sidekick, it is up to you to save them by becoming a master angler, of course.
Luring in a catch
For Galactic Catch Baobab Studios has kept things nice and straightforward. Fishing sports are fixed with five locations around the planet to unlock. That means there’s no locomotion to worry about until you get back to your spaceship (more on that later).
Casting is super easy. While there is some realism involved in the sense that you cast a line out, this isn’t a simulator. With very little technique involved, learning to cast great distances feels natural and instantly accessible. Furthermore, even though the rod sits permanently on your right-hand side, it can be picked up and operated with either hand. There’s also a one-handed mode where the trigger reels in the line.
What I love about Galactic Catch is the reel action. This being a sci-fi-themed experience there was no need to put a handle in. And all the better for it. Your non-rod-holding hand connects via a pink/purple arc of energy, so there’s no need to keep looking down to see if you’ve grabbed/let go of the handle. It made the whole catching process smooth and frustration-free.
Here fishy fishy…
Like any fishing game, there’s a variety of fish to catch (over 60), each preferring different lures and baits. Once they’ve been unlocked in the shop they’re a quick flick of the Meta Quest 2’s thumbstick away. Doing so highlights different fish making it easy to chop and change depending on what you want to catch. Different fish unlock different rewards and resources that can be spent on new gear, improving those chances of catching more elusive prizes.
Fish don’t want to be caught, of course, and will fight back accordingly. Carefully managing the reel action will only get you so far, so Galactic Catch employs a quick reaction system to stun them. Arrows instruct you to snap or hold the rod in a particular direction, the faster this is done the quicker the fish can be caught. The process works fine but very quickly I became attuned to it, turning the battle with a giant aquatic beast into more of a mini-game.
Admiring the catch
While the Galactic Catch campaign is all about saving Mac and Cheez, you can take some time out to get creative. Once you’ve caught a few fish head back up to your spaceship and you’ll find a giant aquarium. Here you can mix and match the various species however you please, you can even purchase and place various decorations once they’ve been unlocked. Plus, why not swap the backgrounds to give your aquarium a nice underwater vibe?
Once complete you can teleport around the aquarium to view it in all of its majesty.
As for the rest of the spaceship, there’s nothing else there. It feels like Baobab Studios plans on adding further sections but for the time being, it’s quite bare.
Galactic Catch Review Summary
There are a number of VR fishing games available, such as Bait! (one of many free VR games) and Real VR Fishing. Galactic Catch falls somewhere in between. Marrying the Baobab’s classic narrative style with a fishing game gives Galatic Catch far more character than others in this genre. Most certainly made for a younger audience, the mechanics work very well and it is enjoyable for the 5-odd hours the campaign lasts. There’s not much depth bar trying to unlock all the fish, lures and other collectables so I’m not sure you’d get much longevity out of the game.