I always find it interesting when mobile titles are moved to consoles or PC, because I like to see how the game transfers, does it hold it, is it fun in a non-mobile format, etc. Rule With An Iron Fish is a hit mobile game, and has actually won awards for its gameplay, and just being a great game. And I’m happy to report that the game is pretty great on Steam as well.
The game is a very tongue-in-cheek take on things, such as fishing, pirates, vikings, and more, but it knows that it does that, and it makes it very charming. The visual style is very cartoony, and you can see why they did it for a mobile game, but it also fits well here too. There’s beauty in these fun characters, and even the fish you dredge up from the depths of numerous islands. What’s more, the islands themselves are very unique, even if they’re square, like literally square.
You yourself are Iron Fish, like that’s your name, you and your sibling are sailing on the high seas when a Kraken wrecks your boat and takes your sibling. You wash up on an island of very lazy pirates, who only agree to “help” you if you help them…how typical. It starts out by just getting them fish to eat, but then it grows from there. You’ll soon expand your little island to have a restaurant, a room to house your “trophies” a farm to grow your own vegetables (and other things…) and more. The more you do, the more the world expands around you, and that includes getting new islands to fish at.
The fishing is obviously the key gameplay aspect, and not surprisingly, it’s rather good. It’s simple, effective, yet strategic. The more you fish, the more your grow as a fisherman, get money to get new gear to help you get better fish, and thus complete missions, grow your world, and more. Sometimes, the fish will actually resist getting caught, so you’ll have to do mini quick time events to catch them. And, since these events are random, you’ll always have to be ready, which is a nice touch.
Speaking of nice touches, the fish are something very special here. They take the names and nicknames of certain species and…well…make them seem more literal at times. You’ll see what I mean. But also, rarer fish will sometimes glow, and you’ll have a limited time to catch them before they run off. There’s also special food items that’ll help you do certain things while fishing, like getting more experience, summoning rare fish automatically, and more. There’s a lot that goes into the fishing in this game, and knowing how everything works will make you better at the game.
As if that wasn’t enough, there are Vikings in these waters that you have to fight, and this starts an interesting battle sequence where you need to snap their fishing lines and catch fish so that you can send them out of your way. It’s a nice little change of pace from everything else that’s going on.
All that being said, there are some flaws with Rule With An Iron Fish. After a while, fishing becomes a bit tedious, especially when you’re in-between hook upgrades and missions. It’s always necessary, which is good, but sometimes you want to get to other islands much sooner, and that doesn’t always happen. You can see why this was a hit mobile game, it’s perfect for pick-up-and-put-down play, but for a PC? It’s not something you’ll want to do for hours on end, especially after the first flurry of gameplay.
Also, after a while, the humor in the game becomes a bit too obvious. Some of it is funny, but others miss a lot.
Still, if you’re looking for a fun, relaxing, and humorous game, you can’t go wrong with Rule With An Iron Fish,.