While it probably won’t be the simulation to break out of the genre’s niche, Fishing: Barents Sea Complete Edition is rather fascinating in its particular fashion. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I started playing, but this title has delivered is some key ways.

Perhaps most important is how it deals with controls. I’ve reviewed some other simulations on the Nintendo Switch that dropped the ball with this area. Not so in this case. The press release promises “intuitive controls perfectly adjusted to your needs,” and it more or less delivers. Responsive touch support is included, which is so important in a game like this. For a genre best experienced with a mouse, this is a more than fair substitute. It also helps when playing in handheld mode.

Closely associated with controls are the menus, which simulations always have in abundance. Although small, all the icons are well marked here. An in-game wiki is available at the click of a button should you need a refresher on the gameplay or if you just want to learn more about individual fish, bait tools, fishing ports, and more. Interesting facts and info are not lacking. Coupled with a fairly deep tutorial, this makes Fishing: Barents Sea Complete Edition a bit easier to jump into than you may expect.

Still, there’s a challenge on hand here. But with five save files, you can always experiment to prevent severely damaging your progress. Get in too much trouble, and you can use your radio to call for a rescue. It’s not free, but bank loans are an option while you get up to speed. Fuel seems plentiful too.

I’d recommend upgrading both engine and radar as early as is practical. Though considered a marginal sea, don’t let the name fool you; Barents’s in-game is vast. Exploring the alluring Norway Coast is decidedly easier with upgrades that have what it takes. I’m excited to eventually be able to purchase from amongst a variety of better boats. You can set a waypoint for faster travel as you explore for the choicest fishing spots.

As this is the Complete Edition, I’m surprised there’s a check for downloadable content every time it first loads. Ultimately, it’s a minor annoyance. In reality, I’d say that’s this title’s most consequential issue. There isn’t that main problem per se (no real glitches and the like), but there are several smaller irritants that make the experience feel slightly off. For instance, why is gutting fish so surprisingly difficult to accomplish with consistent success? Why is there no simpler way to keep track of when each line is set? Why does your boat, at least when not in the first-person view, seem to slide across the water?

I do want to give kudos to the dozen music tracks included in Fishing: Barents Sea Complete Edition. Some lively compositions do make periods of long travel, or times when you must wait for a haul, sizably more pleasant. Just make sure to adjust the volume at maximum in-game so that the tunes don’t end up getting drowned out by strong ambient noise.

This title has an interesting premise with a broader appeal than many simulations. More importantly, thoughtful execution is evident. There’s an attention to detail that I respect, and genre fans should especially admire. It has a measure of addictiveness to get you hooked, so to speak, so I’m confident I’ll return to “take the helm.” But I suspect it will be a while until the mood hits me just right again. 

This is a slow-paced game, and my modest fish hauls suggest it will be a while before it picks up speed. Still, while I’m no simulation enthusiast (and perhaps never will be), I’ve had success insofar as I’ve been entertained. Fishing: Barents Sea Complete Edition is a good title, albeit one Nintendo Switch owners might want to grab at a discount sale price.