We all love the idea of an aquarium. There’s something so mysterious and fascinating about creatures that live in water that makes us want to stare at them. Looking at a fish tank is one of the most soothing things you can do. In reality, owning one can be a bit of a pain in the arse thanks to cleaning, daily feeding and that you can never seem to keep the buggers alive for more than five minutes. That’s where the virtual world can come in to solve all those problems and Aqua TV is here to fill the gap on the Wii U.
I’m actually hesitant to call Aqua TV a game, mainly for the fact there is very little involvement, but I’ll keep that description for simplicity’s sake. Aqua TV is a fish tank simulator for your Wii U.
Upon booting the game up for the first time, you’re invited to check a demonstration of the game’s capabilities, displaying various randomly generated tanks for your perusal. After that brief intro you’re let loose to create your own tank. You can choose between a small, medium, large tank or even go for a tropical reef which functions slightly differently.
After choosing which tank you want you can then customise it in various ways. First and foremost are the fish you can put in. To give a more realistic approach, only certain fish can be put in if the size is sufficient. Now is probably an important time to mention Aqua TV’s biggest issue. A lack of content. Not only that, but also a huge chunk of it hidden by a DLC pay wall. The amount of fish in the base game is worryingly poor.
Aside from fish, you can change the ornaments, the background image and the floor colour. While a nice idea, these too are slim pickings with most things hidden behind three DLC packs titled “Thetis”. “Poseidon” and “Oceanus”. Now granted, some of them do look nice and lovely, in fact I’d love to be able to have a tank that looks half as gorgeous as these do, but you can’t help feeling there just isn’t enough.
The big problem is that there is so little customisation available with the initial purchase. So much is locked behind the three DLC packs that it’s quite off putting. I’m not saying DLC shouldn’t be done, I just think they’ve gone the wrong way about it. For a start there needs to be enough interesting content in the main game which this certainly doesn’t have. Almost the entirety of anything interesting or cool is locked behind the DLC.
Due to the starved content, interest in the game dwindles faster than it takes to download it. There’s literally nothing keeping you playing the game. You’ve seen everything Aqua TV has (and doesn’t have) within 5 minutes. There’s nothing you can do in game to unlock any new things, no activities to keep you interested, it’s just playing around for five minutes using the minimal options available to make something half decent looking. Then you’re left to gaze at it.
I suppose there’s nothing wrong with that approach of “build it then admire it”. But there really needed to be more to it. Even if the DLC was included in the main game I still don’t think it is enough to justify the purchase. At the moment, Aqua TV only works as a sort dynamic screensaver for your TV that you’d have on in the background while you’re entertaining friends. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, there’s a place for that in the world, they just needed to be more generous.
Review copy provided by publisher