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Review: Moonglow Bay (Switch) – A Fishing Sim That Doesn’t Pull You In

Love or hate fishing minigames, there’s no denying they’re a staple of . But aims to blow that hook-and-line mechanic into a full game. This fishing sim from Bunnyhug and Coatsink launched in 2021 on Steam and Xbox to mixed reviews. The new Switch port (and starboard) starts out as a tranquil few days out on the water, but with bugs and some frustrating gameplay it becomes quite a stormy journey.

The game begins with your partner being declared deceased after they went missing three years ago (you can choose pronouns and appearances for both). Your adult daughter, River, moves in to care for you and help you, alongside your cute dog, Waffles, who you can pat and take for walks. You open a present left for you: a fishing journal. And so begins your character’s healing and fishing journey.

Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

We found it refreshing to play as an older adult, and a parent at that. But while we could tell Bunnyhug was aiming for a wholesome storyline, the plot doesn’t have the emotional tug we would hope for. (And that’s from a writer who tears up at the mere mention of .)

Moonglow Bay is divided into chapters, each ending with a boss fight (stay with us), as you search for your partner and uncover secrets in the water. Meanwhile, you try to catch all 151 fish species and fill out your Pokédex fishing scrapbook. You get a net, rods, lures, and bait, and a boat to sail the seas.

In the beginning fishing can be a bit trying, but it gets easier. Timing isn’t as crucial as in , and fish aren’t as slippery as in . There’s no complex strategy; we were given many tools but they ended up seeming arbitrary. The fishing menu isn’t very user-friendly either, as you can only change rods/lures/bait at certain spots.

There’s a cooking minigame, of course, where you follow markers to hit certain spots – relatively easy once you get into the rhythm. You can sell fish or food in the vending machine outside your house, but you’ll get more money if a side quest requests certain items, so we hoarded most of ours. It’s a good thing your inventory is unlimited, although it’s disappointing that you can’t sort it.

Another major objective is to restore Moonglow Bay, which has floundered after the fishing trade collapsed when your partner went missing. You’ll do this through donations to upgrade town buildings, and requests from NPCs whose diversity unfortunately can’t make up for dry personalities. The rewards aren’t always worth the money; you often restore buildings you can’t enter.

Throughout the game, there’s not a huge sense of progression, which you might not notice if you played in short bursts. Still, we did sink a chunk of time into the repetitiveness. If you don’t mind treading water doing the same tasks over and over, you might like it. But players who prefer to just keep swimming may find it a bit on the boring side.

If our earlier mention of ‘boss battles’ didn’t scare you off, let’s dive into them now. They aren’t filled with the intense combat you might associate with the term – mostly you use your rod to catch or move things to catch or help a big fish. Without spoiling anything, a warning: the second boss turned calm waters into a tidal wave. The instructions are muddy, targeting is imprecise, and you’re supposed to speed in a boat that crawls. And when we finally beat it, we had no idea what we’d done. We weren’t sure if there was a bug or we were just horrendously bad at it.

Which brings us to another bone to pick: Moonglow Bay is more than a little buggy. Aiming the road or net can be fidgety and glitchy; quests were out of order; some cutscenes play twice; characters are pushed off the path when we try to talk to them; and walls/rocks/hills/cliffs obscured our vision. We can see why the game has an option to ‘teleport to safe area’ (a surface-level solution) as we got stuck anywhere with a slight elevation – walking from the beach to the pathway or, god forbid, up stairs. There has been a pre-launch update to smooth out some bugs, though many remain.

The game is relatively advanced with accessibility options though – you can toggle flashing VFX, camera speed, and text size. It’s just hard to recommend a title that has been out on other platforms for over two years when the bugs have followed or resurfaced on Switch (we gather from our research). We’d usually say something like ‘hold off for a patch’ but you may be waiting a while, since, like the gameplay itself, progress seems slow.

In cosy games, art style can often be a deciding factor. Moonglow Bay’s overworld’s voxel design didn’t grab us, unfortunately. The 2D illustrated journal, on the other hand, is lovely, with thick lines and block colours for the unique fish designs. We wished a similar style had been applied to the rest of the game.

The soundtrack is a strength too – which makes sense, given it was composed by (of Minecraft and fame). On home grounds there are acoustic tracks at tempos that evoke calm blue oceans. In new lands you’re treated to quiet yet curious sounds of synths or piano. And that’s outside of boss music, which swells to a full orchestral drama. It’s a shame that sometimes tracks played at the wrong time or layered over the top of each other.


We really wanted to like Moonglow Bay. It has the bones of a great fun cosy game: collectibles, a heartwarming story, fishing! Unfortunately, between the bugs, bland characters, and unnecessarily frustrating boss battles, the meat is a little thin. We enjoyed collecting the fish and restoring the town for a spell, but even the fun quests didn’t have the compelling pull of many other games. If you really love fishing in your cosy adventures, this could be worth dipping your toe in. But if you’re just in the market for a cosy game, there are plenty of fish in the sea.