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Review

Review: My Aquarium

Annihilating Nemo.

Now released on PSN and XBLA is a port of last year’s Wii title My Aquarium. Let’s get this out of the way first: this is not a game, it’s a virtual aquarium. Know this before you make a purchase.

I actually started a saltwater aquarium this summer to get away from my PS3 a bit, and have crammed my head with new knowledge on the steep learning curve from never having owned a goldfish to keeping some of the toughest marine animals a hobbyist can acquire, so it was with both trepidation, excitement and idle curiosity that I just had to check out what My Aquarium had to offer.

You are offered the opportunity to manage up to six aquaria, two small, two medium and two large. Into these you can place whatever fish you want, and decorate with various items. You can name the fish if you want (which prevents them from getting eaten), and feed with three types of food. Trophies are available for keeping fish alive, feeding smaller fish to larger fish, breeding the fish and so on. A quick press of a button removes everything except the tank from the display so you can enjoy your fish swimming around.

First the good: as a keeper, I was really enthralled to see the application actually has a database of saltwater fish with accurate 3D models and information. If ever I want to buy a real fish, I can just take a look.

Now the bad: everything else. The application is well-constructed and easy to use, but it just isn’t fun. At all. I can’t imagine anyone actually booting this up to look at their fish. There are weird omissions, for example you can’t place corals – and why not? They are some of the prettiest things you can put in a tank – there are no invertebrates, most of the important food types are missing and there is no maintenance required. In a nutshell, there is no progression, and thus little reason to come back to it. Worst of all is that there are only a few fish unlocked at the start, and the process of unlocking new fish is simply to wait a few days. It will take an eon to unlock everything. The publishers have also had the cheek to offer paid DLC to acquire certain fish that aren’t in the original download.

I am probably jaded from owning an aquarium, since it is easy to sit and stare at your animals for hours, bond with them, talk to them and enjoy their behaviour and the general feeling during maintenance that you are making your fish happy and giving them a pleasant and healthy environment to live in. My Aquarium evokes no such emotions, and while I never expected it to be anything like a real aquarium, it is not even fun in an EyePet-like way because from day 1 nothing ever changes.

Pros:

  • Pretty fish
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • No replay value
  • Unlockables take forever and aren’t based on anything you do
  • Lots of missing items you would expect in a virtual aquarium
  • Just isn’t particularly fun in the first place

There is nothing wrong with My Aquarium per se. It does what it’s supposed to do. It’s just pretty tedious.

Score: 2/10

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19 Comments
  1. Spotter5
    Member
    Since: Forever

    I was thinking of buying this but then the RDR dlc came out and I spent my money on that.. Sort of glad I did, but it still looks good. Although, my XMB wallpaper is that aquarium so there is really no need for me to get this..

    Comment posted on 01/10/2010 at 19:05.
  2. moshi
    Member
    Since: Jun 2009

    Pretty Fish, best pro ever

    Comment posted on 01/10/2010 at 19:20.
    • DJ-Katy
      Member
      Since: Apr 2009

      Can you tell I was struggling :P

      Comment posted on 01/10/2010 at 19:24.
      • moshi
        Member
        Since: Jun 2009

        Oh no, not in the slightest

        Comment posted on 01/10/2010 at 19:59.
  3. hazelam
    Member
    Since: Feb 2009

    sounds more like one of those things leave running in the background, like those fireplace videos, than a game

    i’d like something like this, or even better a real time 3d fireplace thing, combined with the folding at home program, i’ve always wanted one of those fireplace video things.

    come to think of it, i haven’t tried the folding program since i got the new ps3, have to see if anything’s changed.

    Comment posted on 01/10/2010 at 19:34.
  4. emekcrash
    Member
    Since: Mar 2010

    Such discrimination. This should be a 10/10.

    Comment posted on 01/10/2010 at 19:36.
  5. sesameseed
    Member
    Since: Mar 2009

    Just import Aquanaut’s Holiday instead… problem solved!

    Comment posted on 01/10/2010 at 19:47.
  6. Origami Killer
    Member
    Since: May 2010

    i have aquanauts holiday and fishville, tempted as i love marine stuff

    Comment posted on 01/10/2010 at 20:56.
  7. TSBonyman
    Member
    Since: Dec 2009

    Fair review, but i was hoping for a few expletives ;)
    Btw, I believe it’s just a matter of putting your ps3 clock forward about a year to unlock all the fish.

    I bought Aqua Vita way back when and just last night bought the goldfish dynamic theme, which was disappointing as the goldfish just stays on right lower half of screen, swims forward, then backs away, then forward agin.. I expected it would swim about the whole screen but now i hate it already so i think i’ll give My Aquarium a miss.

    Comment posted on 01/10/2010 at 21:39.
    • DJ-Katy
      Member
      Since: Apr 2009

      No expletives in reviews :) You can indeed forward the clock, I just tend not to put tips like that in reviews.

      Does anyone know a good aquarium dynamic theme? I have the Aquarium Live Wallpaper on my HTC and it’s awesome, you can tap an empty part of the screen to feed the fish. It has an occelaris clownfish (same as Nemo), a flame angelfish, couple of lemon peel angelfish and a blue tang.

      Comment posted on 01/10/2010 at 21:41.
  8. duncanuaz
    Member
    Since: Sep 2009

    This could do with a 3D update, then I can sit and watch the little fishies swim out my screen at me… if I could afford a 3D telly, which since I can’t makes me wanting a 3D update pointless.

    Comment posted on 01/10/2010 at 21:49.
  9. Danza Di Fuoco E Ghiaccio
    Member
    Since: Aug 2009

    Well more games like Ecco on the Dreamcast would be cool, but aquariums are so devoid of excitement.

    Comment posted on 01/10/2010 at 22:36.
  10. MXZ
    Member
    Since: Jul 2010

    I would rather play freddy fish.

    hell i might as well just dress my sackbots as fish in LBP2 and force them to swim together.

    Comment posted on 02/10/2010 at 00:57.

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