Pleonexia Uses Fishing Challenges & Pushy Customers to Create Panic
Pleonexia sees you fishing for some frighteningly hungry people. Even though you’re charging one thousand dollars a fish, people are still willing to pay. They’re clearly suffering from some addiction to your catches. The trouble is, catching fish is not a sure thing. There’s no guarantee you’ll to catch anything when you drop that lure in the water. All the while, people are pounding at your door. Ringing the bell and demanding to be fed. It creates this pressure and fear that will have you staring into the waters, your mind racing with panic.
There’s something wrong with this town. You can see it in the townsfolk’s eyes when they come to your hut looking for their fish. There’s a vacant, frightening hunger in their appearances. The 1-bit art style enhances their frightening gazes to incredible effect. The people look like shadows with sunken eyes, white teeth gleaming. They seem to be hunger and rage given form, but covered with a thin sheen of small-town kindness. There’s a menace in this people that is plain to see. It gets worse as the game progresses and you start to unveil its story.
So, you want to keep these dangerous people fed. They’re only allowed one fish a day, but you’d better believe they will come around for that fish ever single day. This is where Pleonexia begins to get stressful. You’ll start off with a couple of fish to get you going, which should get you through your first handful of customers. Beyond that, you’ll have to go catch more yourself. Thankfully, you can do this off the dock by your hut. Just step out the door, drop your hook in the water, and you’re rolling.
Like I said, catching fish isn’t a sure thing, though. You have to watch the water for dark patches to find a fish. If it’s not just the right color, you’ll waste time and catch nothing. However, even if you do drop the hook in when the coloration is right, you have to hold the button down to reel the fish in. Sometimes, the fish just get away when you’re reeling. It has nothing to do with your abilities. It just gets away. You can even reel the ‘fish’ all the way in, only to find it’s a piece of garbage. You’ll frequently come away empty-handed from your fishing trips.
Time doesn’t stop while you’re out fishing, though. Pleonexia uses an in-game timer that rarely pauses and usually moves at a quick pace. As the minutes and hours tick by, your customers will start showing up at the hut. You’ll hear the ding of your bell calling you away from your fishing. These folks will show up throughout the day at various times, often interrupting you. The fishing is hard enough as-is without constant interruptions, but it’s hard to ignore your customers. They do seem just a bit murderous, after all.
You CAN blow off your customers a few times, but you can feel their patience draining away. And those white teeth seem awfully close to you, don’t they? Just the same, sometimes you don’t have a fish to give. You have to tell them to leave because you have nothing for them. All the while, the clock continues to tick down to your next customer appearing. Or, time will continue to plod toward nightfall when you need to sleep.
Fishing is already a challenging task in Pleonexia, but it gets worse when you’re tired. It’s harder to catch fish when you haven’t slept, so you’re going to need to get to bed on time to be at your best when you’re fishing. What if you didn’t catch anything that day, though? What if you don’t have any fish left for the people coming in the morning? Do you risk staying up in order to spend a few more minutes fishing so that you catch something?
The game is filled with these small, panicked decisions thanks to these various systems. You have a constant onslaught of customers demanding their fish. You’re never guaranteed to catch anything when you sit down to fish, though. This means you can spend plenty of time trying to catch something and end up with nothing for your customers. To fix this, I’d often stay up late or get up early to fish more, but this meant fishing was harder to do. The game swiftly gets you in this loop where you have to decide what’s the least risky thing to do.
Pleonexia gnaws at your mind the whole time. As you’re fishing, your mind races with all of the deadly things those unsettled townspeople will do to you. You wonder if this is the time that one of them snaps at you when you don’t have a fish for them. I kept trying to keep track of who I’d blown off a few times so that I could give them a fish and make someone else upset instead. Were some of the townsfolk more likely to become murderous than the others, though? As I had to deny more and more people, I began to wonder who would snap and kill me.
All the while, you keep pulling in the hook with nothing. Coming up with hunks of garbage. You start getting panicked and frustrated as you imagine those white teeth sinking into your neck. This makes you drop the hook in too early. You keep your character up too late and make them tired. Reel up yet more trash. You finally net a fish, but then several people come to your hut close together. It’s never enough, and never fast enough. Fear and panic keep bubbling and boiling inside you until you feel like you’ll burst.
Pleonexia just needs you to do some fishing for some hungry people. With its interwoven systems, though, it drives you into a frenzy of panic. You need to feed these dangerous people, but getting their food is uncertain at best. It feels like you’re always being interrupted by customers or a need to sleep, and whenever you’re not, you’re screwing up your casts or dredging up trash. There’s never enough fish and every failed cast makes your panic even worse. It’s a gut-churning experience that’ll have you dreading the sound of a bell for some time after you’re done playing.