Review by gt90v12

"Only swimming for par."

I had recently acquired My Aquarium in hopes of finding a “fish tank simulator” that I could enjoy. And though I find My Aquarium okay, I wouldn't say it's fabulous. I draw most of my comparison, and experience, from London Studio's and Playlogics Aquatopia, which I prefer for its level of live interaction with the tank using the Eyetoy and realism of the fish AI.

Some of the issues I have notice that bother me about My Aquarium is that lack of live interaction with the tank, I was hoping that this would have been what Aquatopia wasn't. I do enjoy that there are two of every tank size to experiment with, as Aquatopia was just the one. I also enjoy the plethora of fish that are available, though most are still locked for me, as Aquatopia had only a few species. But its short comings are also keen; my fiancee stated that some of the fish look fake or rubbery, the Lyretail Hogfish in particular. I myself had issues with the Blue Jellyfish, I was expecting long flowing translucent tentacles, such the like as we saw from Disney's Finding Nemo. So the graphics could use improvement. Also I notice that all the fish could be lumped together, this simulator should have gone to the extent to have you choose whether the tank is a freshwater tank or a saltwater tank, and since there is two of each size, why not just have one of each. Other areas which could have used some improvement are the fish AI behaviors, such as having one fish chase another, which I have yet to see in this simulator. As often as my Asian Arowanna seems to be consuming my Neon Tetras, you would think to see them at least attempt an act of survival by swimming for coral or some narrow opening like the jack-o-lantern or Atlantis structure. I also have seen the Ocellaris Clownfish stray from the anemones, which I have found odd. Or maybe seeing the fish, such as goldfish, redistribute the pebbles to the tank floor.

Other technical issues I found was the sound; one it's not in Dolby Digital, so there isn't any surround ambiance, which in itself explains for the lack of Dolby Digital. The simulator has NO sound effect ambiance. If you turn the music off, you hear nothing. No bubbles, no hum of the tank, no fish or perhaps the subtle roar of the ocean, nothing. As for the music it is calm and relaxing, however, it becomes repetitive soon. When even using the random feature, I've had tracks replay themselves shortly again after a different track finishes or on rare occasions it has even random to the very same track it just finished. The ability to use the HDD for your local tracks is nice, but I'm limited to only one album, and its repetitive track playback is an issue here as well. I'd have better luck using a playlist, which I haven't confirmed will work, as of the writing of this review. Camera angles was also another concern, in that it takes what seem to be forever for the camera to zoom in on a particular fish, but then it seems as if the camera is too close, which then pixelates some of the other fish should they swim by. A solution would have been to set the camera in random static positions to encompass not just a single fish but perhaps three or four, and then watch as they interact with one another and swim around, I feel Aquatopia had this well thought out. An option in the game options would have been nice to specify how soon the tank enters into a screensaver mode. A fish cam would have been cool as well, and see what your fish sees as it moves about the tank. I also took issue with the tanks physics, such as seeing fish swim through plant materials instead of them reacting with one another. Also the larger the tank the more distant the fish are, Neon Tetras and the other smaller fish look as if they were very tiny tadpoles.

In conclusion, the game, in general, is okay. Though the lack of graphical realism, technical details, and missing sound effects was lacking. I do like not having to pay for food or materials in the game and that fish won't die on you, except for being eaten, of course. If these technical and graphical issues aren't issues for you, then it's a wonderful simulator to enjoy for months on end. I myself am hoping Hudson Soft will address the short comings hopefully in a future patching or feature pack available for download through the PlayStation Store.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 09/27/10

Game Release: My Aquarium (US, 09/14/10)

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