THE FACTS: My Aquarium
WiiWare | Hudson | WiiConnect24 Support | Out Now | 500 Wii Points (£3.50 / $5.00 Online)
Controller Compatability: Wii Remote (Pointer)
My Aquarium is something completely different to the other WiiWare games currently on offer. It requires no real skill, and has even gained it's own genre on the Wii Shop Channel as "relaxation".
The game is based around a simulation of, you guessed it, an aquarium. In the aquarium you get to choose from many decorations, backgrounds and lighting effects to get the right look you want for your virtual fish tank. Each item you add (such as rocks or plants) takes up a certain amount of blocks on a meter to the side of the selection screen, and when it is filled you cannot decorate any more without deleting some of your existing pieces.
The next step is to choose your fish. There are many different species available, each with a short description explaining some of their main features. Out of the entire roster, only about a third are available at first, but as you care for your fish more and more, the roster will slowly fill itself up. Once again, there is also a meter which limits the amount of fish (depending on sizes) just as with the decorations so that your tank doesn't get too crowded. A nice addition to the fish is the way that they can breed if you have two of the same, and the way that your fish grow as you feed them more often, but sadly there is little interaction to help any of this happen.
Aside from the feeding, there isn't really much else to it. You can view your aquarium as a big screensaver, which would be a nice touch to the odd dinner party, and you can even tap the glass to see if your fish respond to you, but otherwise, there is no other interaction with your fish whatsoever. You can't even play a simple "wash the algae from the tank" mini game.
As an extra addition though, WiiConnect24 features are implimented and give you the ability to send and recieve aquariums from your friends. You can have up to six of your own fish tanks running at once, but thats where the "gameplay" ends.
The game's graphics are fairly good and the backgrounds look very nice, but sometimes the fish just don't feel like real fish. They move around pretty realistically, tails flapping as they swim across the tank, but the creatures facial expressions are often next to none, which takes away some of the feeling of them being real and needing looked after. The music for the game is very appropriate with some classic piano tunes which work quite well, and with 35 to choose from there's at least some variety in the sound.
As a virtual fish tank, this works quite well. But, like normal fish tanks, there really isn't that much you can do with your pets once they're inside it. If this game featured monkeys that played pat-a-cake, then we'd be all over it, but for the simple reason that there is little interaction at all, leaving you with nothing other to do than to watch your fish grow, we must say we were slightly disappointed.
No real gameplay is offered here, but what is needed to be done, gets done right
Nice style and music offering, although the fish realism could have been improved and the menus could have been displayed less awkwardly
Watching the fish is quite relaxing, and kids will get some fun out of choosing the decorations
Good implementation of WiiConnect24 and only 500 points, but a lack of other extras hold it back