A name like Luna’s Fishing Garden is the sort that leads to certain assumptions. It creates the idea that you’ll be both fishing quite a bit and tending a garden of sorts. Yes, it does involve both of those things. (And looks quite pleasant and is quaint while you do so.) But it doesn’t work in the way you would thank. Rather, it is more about managing resources from both activities to complete goals and maximize profits.
Cassie is out fishing today when a massive storm hits. It whisks her away to a series of small islands inhabited by supernatural creatures. Luna, the first character you meet, lost some power in the storm. Other friends of hers are dealing with predicaments from the situation. Fog is blocking access to all islands in this archipelago. Also, well, Cassie is stuck there. It becomes up to you to clear up scrap, catch fish, build nests, harvest, get some upgrades, fulfill some requests, and earn lots of leaves.
It’s the constant item collecting so you can turn them in for leaves so you can collect more items and get more leaves that I didn’t quite expected. When I saw the name Luna’s Fishing Garden, I suppose I figured this would be about tending and maintaining a garden for the purpose of making it look pretty or fill requests. I expected fishing to be a perpetual task you’d continually engage in. Instead, it’s about finding a pattern to maximize profits. Rather than constantly go back to fish, I only did it to complete quests for, say, Jellybean the seal or to complete Nigel’s journal. Instead of a varied array of plants, I went all in on the most efficient money makers. So, say, tons of watermelons with Capybara huts nearby them to harvest them periodically so Cassie wouldn’t have to.
Sure, there is an occasional incentive to plant different, well, plants. Say when Sam first comes around, you’ll need 10 coconuts. Which meant I demolished all of my tamarillos, replaced them with palm trees, then replanted the tamarillos when the questline was done. The only speed bumps come early on, when Cassie’s backpack is too small to hold too many mission items at once. But Luna’s Fishing Garden very quickly becomes a game where you end up with more leaves than you know what to do with and islands and oceans with the most valuable cash crops.
It also means that it isn’t always as much about soaking up the ambiance. The NPCs around are very focused on their tasks. This is a relaxed game with idle elements. But it isn’t one where socialization is a priority. Everyone only has something to say to Cassie when they have a new quest for her. Otherwise, they wordlessly offer their services. When you sell items to Luna, it is a silent exchange. Once you purchase every fishing rod upgrade from Jellybean, that’s it.
This doesn’t make Luna’s Fishing Garden any less pleasant. It’s an enjoyable, light way to spend a weekend. It’s just the sort of game where someone should go in knowing that it is about accomplishing goals and being productive. While it is cozy and cute, you’re there for certain tasks and can feel like it is about fulfilling goals and earning leaves, rather than making friends and a pretty place.