The first thing I did when I got my Gear VR is look for a game my mom would want to play. While virtual reality can be a largely solitary activity, it’s also one that you want to share, and the easy set-up of the Gear VR in particular is perfect for this. Resolution Games, a small Swedish studio founded by Tommy Palm, one of the key minds behind Candy Crush Saga, is looking to create just those kinds of experiences, the ones you’ll want to take out and show your friends and family. "There’s already a lot of people doing space shooters," Palm says. The studio is making its first attempt at this with Bait, a colorful fishing game that launches on Gear VR today.
"There's already a lot of people doing space shooters."
Bait is best described as pleasant. The first section of the game places you in a serene fishing hole somewhere in Florida, with picturesque waterfalls in the background and water so clear you can see the fish swimming below. If you look to your right you’ll see a rainbow of parrots hanging out on a tree branch. The goal of the game is to catch fish, and the process is incredibly simple. In its quest to be as accessible as possible, Bait uses a one-button control scheme. To cast your line, you look at where you want it to go and then hold the touchpad on the side of the Gear VR. Once you get a bite — which you pretty much always will, as the waters are teeming with fish — you hold the touchpad again to reel it in. You need to be careful not to break the line (a handy meter will let you know when it gets too tight) but otherwise it’s all very basic.
What Bait may lack in depth it makes up for in charm. Many VR games are focused on being intense, stranding you on a destroyed space station or asking you to climb a perilously high mountain. But Bait is content to just let you be in a nice, soothing place. I’ve played through three sections of the game so far, and each is distinct, with its own vibrant style. You’ll venture into swamps with scant light filtering through the trees, and peaceful, autumnal glades where the leaves are turning the perfect shade of red. The fish are equally adorable, each one a silly play on words; you’ll catch everything from a green pickled herring to a black-and-white spotted cow koi. There’s a basic story that provides goals, but it never pushes you in any direction. You’re free to just sit and gaze, and catch fish at your own pace.
With a story that lasts around two hours and about 40 different fish to catch, Bait isn’t the kind of game that will occupy you for a long time. I don’t see myself sitting down for hours trying to catch ‘em all. It’s more of the kind experience that I might pull out to just hang out in for 20 minutes, enjoying the view, smiling at the goofy fish I’m able to catch. And it’s definitely the next game I’m getting my mom to try.