Review by glass_soul
Reviewed: 09/25/15 | Updated: 09/28/15
I consider this a test of my writing ability...
So in previous reviews, I've mentioned before that I've bought a lot of digital titles. I mean a LOT. Many of the older genres I grew up with aren't worth the cost of a big budget disc release these days, but plenty of them turn up in the download store for one. For another, I thoroughly enjoy discovering great games that simply flew under most people's radar because digital titles don't get nearly the fanfare that a new disc release does. Despite the fact that there's barely a page in the Playstation store where I don't own at least one title (and three or four is more the norm), I've only bought three games that I genuinely regret picking up. (Not bad for the 400 or so I've got. That's like, what? .003 percent or something?) This 'game' is one of them. Welcome to Aquatopia!
Here's the whole 'game': it turns your TV into a fish tank. That's it. That's the whole 'game' and why I'll only refer to it as a 'game' in 'sarcastic' 'quotes'. Now let's see if I can somehow get 1200 words out of this.
Aquatopia was programmed with the Playstation Eye in mind, so if you don't have one, it won't even load. The 'game' just keeps saying over and over that it can't detect the PS Eye, and then waits for you to either go buy one or shut it off. Why you need a camera for a screen saver filled with tropical fish is beyond me, but there you go. Once the necessary equipment is hooked up, the opening production credits fade in and out letting you know that these fish are animated by the redoubtable Havok engine and just who is responsible for making this thing so you can send them a bag of horse**** or something. This leads to the title screen! AQUATOPIA! And believe me when I say that's the most interesting thing this 'game' has to offer!
It's a very NICE fish tank, at least. It has coral and seaweed and even a star fish. I had a friend with a dog named Star Fish. She was a ratty, nasty little thing, with mange that made her look bald. The dog, I mean, not my friend. Where was I? Right, the fish. There are rocks for your fishies to swim around and hide behind, and a jet of bubbles indicating the air system is working perfectly.Your aquarium is home to seven species of tropical fish, including lion fish, trigger fish, and the box fish. I think they are planning on adding the elusive fish fish in an update. They will swim around lazily while you stare at the screen. In a few minutes, you might feel your IQ points dribbling out your ears. This is normal, do not panic. Pressing start brings up an options menu. You can turn the sound down if your neighbors complain about all that fish racket coming from your house. The camera check option lets you see what the PS Eye sees in all its grainy glory. You can use this to fine tune where exactly the Eye is pointed. And finally you can remove or add the different species of fish, like if the aquarium looks too crowded or something. I guess. You can also randomize which fish you'd like to see in the tank! Just like a slot machine! Only with fish!
Oh, sorry. I had to go finish my dishes, do the laundry, and dust my teapot collection. All of which are activities far more interesting than watching Aquatopia, but so is staring at the sun until you go blind, so that's not saying much.
I digress. The actual reason for the PS Eye is that you can mildly interact with your virtual fish. Stand in front of it, and a transparent image of yourself will come into focus over the tank. So if you ever wanted to look like you were haunting an aquarium, this game is for you. Waving your hands in front of the tank will make the fish follow your actions or sometimes scatter. You can also splash the top of the tank, freaking out your virtual pets even more. And that's it. That's all you can do. Seriously? I mean, I wasn't expecting to be able to punch the fish... well, actually I was, but that's not the point. You literally can't do ANYTHING to thses goddamn fish. Feeding them? Nope? Using that little net thingy to chase them around? Forget it. Clean the tank? CURSE YOU AQUA SCUM! Nothing. Excepting the occasional harassment by flailing your arms in front of the camera, all you can do is watch the fish swim in circles. Swim around, and around, and around, and *yawn* aroun..nn.......
Sorry, fell asleep on my keyboard.
As you may have guessed, this 'game' isn't very interesting. Oh, and even though the only thing you can do with the controller is bring up the options menu, Aquatopia still has a hissy fit if you disconnect it to save on its battery. Why? Why does the stupid thing care if I shut a controller off when the controller doesn't DO a goddamn thing in the first place? This is like a movie theater requiring you to bring a tennis racket before letting you in: completely, hilariously pointless. As far as controls go, this is close to the stupidest thing I've seen in a video 'game'. And that's saying one hell of a lot.
I honestly see no purpose to this. Screen savers have been around since the early '90s. The idea of paying two bucks for one that you actually have to bother to load and doesn't do anything interesting just seems like a waste of money and time. It doesn't even really succeed as something else for your PS Eye to do, since you can't really do anything. On one hand, I feel kind of silly bashing Aquatopia, since it doesn't do anything other than what it's programmed to do. On the other hand, people want you to shell out two whole dollars for this crap. Surely there's something you need two dollars more of in this world than digital fish. (Rereading what I've written, I'm thinking about doing a double submit on this, once as a review and again as a comprehensive FAQ.)
My memory is a bit hazy, but I think I picked this up one time I had a little cash left in my wallet after raiding the Playstation Store and decided to grab this to zero everything out. If you take anything away from this review, let it be to read the actual descriptions on games before you buy them (I give very good advice, but never seem to follow it). In retrospect, I should have bought a hot dog; it would have had more interactivity and stayed interesting for longer. On the off chance you didn't pick up on the subtlety of my feelings for this 'game', don't buy it; you won't be happy you did.
Ha ha! I did it! Yeah, I did it with some padding and filler. These last few sentences, for instance. And anyway, who cares! I never have to think of Aquatopia again, and that's enough for me. As Rolento would say 'Mish-un comprete!'
Product Release: Aquatopia (US, 11/20/07)
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