A Fisherman’s Tale (PS VR2) Review – Still Hooks You In

A VR classic returns.

When I reviewed Another Fisherman’s Tale, this year’s sequel to the 2019 PlayStation VR “recursive” adventure starring a wooden puppet lighthouse keeper, I absolutely appreciated that it went in a totally different direction with its puzzle and game design, but it also served as a reminder that the original game left so much potential on the table in its world-within-a-world-within-a-world concept.

Now that the original A Fisherman’s Tale has made its way onto Sony’s new-generation VR headset via a new port, I’m still left wanting to see the folks at InnerspaceVR really expand on its ideas, but I’m happy for the chance to play through it again all the same.

For context though, A Fisherman’s Tale puts players in the floating, wooden body of Bob, living his little life with his little routines in his little lighthouse. That is until things start to get a bit strange and Bob finds that he’s not only seeing a miniature version of himself repeating his exact actions inside a small-scale model of his very own lighthouse, but on looking outside his window finds that he is also playing the role of “small Bob inside a model lighthouse” to an even bigger version of himself. That’s where the whole “recursive” terms comes in, each action taken or object manipulated having an effect on the world being mirrored at the smaller and larger scale.

Need to move a giant anchor blocking a doorway? Reach into the model lighthouse and pick up the miniature version to see Giant Bob’s hand reach in and do the same to your equivalent of said anchor. Something too small to be of any use? Drop it into the scale model lighthouse and you’ll get your very own bigger version to match. It’s a deceptively simple concept that makes for some incredibly satisfying – if never particularly taxing – puzzle solutions.

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At only around an hour in length though, things in A Fisherman’s Tale wrap up before the puzzle designs can really get good. It’s a problem that still persisted in this year’s sequel, which threw out the recursive world thing for a completely different concept, but that game at least effectively doubled the runtime. I’m all for a short-form VR experience with a neat hook, but there’s just so much potential here that goes unrealised. It’s still something I’d consider a must-play experience though, especially if you’re on the PS VR2 and haven’t yet checked it out on another platform. Wanting more is definitely a good problem at the end of the day.

If you have played A Fisherman’s Tale elsewhere already though, I can’t really think of a good reason to pick it up again on the PS VR2 – aside from trophies, maybe. It definitely looks a lot nicer, which is great, but does little else to take advantage of the newer headet’s unique capabilities and doesn’t feature any major improvements over what’s already out there.

A Fisherman's Tale is still great four years later, but if you've played it before there's not much reason to pick up this barebones port to the PS VR2. It would've been cool to see InnerspaceVR take the opportunity to flesh out its recursive puzzle concept even more, but hopefully there's more still to come from this franchise.
Still a fantastic VR puzzler
Looks nice inside the PlayStation VR2 headset
Easy to play in one sitting
Not hugely enhanced over the original PS VR version
Still falls short of its true potential