Aquantika is an aquarium-themed Facebook game from Skylance LLC. The game showed up as the No. 8 emerging Facebook game last week, with a MAU increase of 11,000 (122%).
Aquantika sees players overseeing their own custom fish tank in an attempt to collect as many breeds of fish as possible and earn money through selling them. Fishes may be purchased using soft or hard currency then placed in the tank. Normally they are purchased as babies, but with hard currency they may be purchased ready-grown into adults. Fishes must be fed before they will grow from a baby into an adult and subsequently breed, but they only need to be fed once every day or so. It is also possible to purchase an auto-feeder with the hard currency the game provides the player with at the start of the game — this begins with enough food for seven days, but must then be topped up by expending soft currency.
Most things in Aquantika take varying amounts of real time to accomplish. There are a few tank upgrades which may be purchased using hard currency that cut these delays down somewhat, but there is still a fair amount of waiting around for fish to grow and become ready for breeding, and there’s relatively little to do in the meantime. Players may delve into the store and purchase decorations for their tank, which earns them experience points and subsequently access to a wider variety of things to purchase, but there is very little to actually do — particularly if items such as the auto-feeder have been purchased. This leaves the game as more of a relaxation tool than a fully-fledged game as such — a feeling supported by the fact that there is no kind of “quest” or “objective” system to guide players through what they are supposed to be doing — players are simply left free to do whatever they wish. In some ways, it is refreshing to play a Facebook game that doesn’t hold the player’s hand so much, but in others, starting the game and being told literally nothing about what is going on does not make for the most user-friendly first impression.
Regardless of gameplay, Aquantika is a beautifully-presented game in terms of audio and visuals. The fish are realistically-animated 3D models, and the backdrops look as if they have been made from photographs. Objects put in the tank may be freely moved around on all three 3D axes, allowing for a full degree of customization, and there is a wide variety of upgrades to purchase as the player progresses through the levels. Less praise may be heaped upon the in-game text, however, which is obviously badly translated to English with numerous spelling and grammatical errors that should really have been caught in quality assurance — the repeated use of “Achivements” instead of “Achievements” is a particularly glaring mistake.
Aquantika is a pleasant enough experience and its presentation is especially worthy of note, but as a game it just feels a little directionless and dull. There’s not enough for players to do, and it doesn’t give enough direction early on. As such, it’s hard to see this game maintaining the attention of its players for very long — some will leave quickly as they are confused about what they are supposed to be doing, while others will depart after giving it a chance and realizing there’s really not very much to it beyond buying new fish and backdrops.
Beautifully presented, but sadly rather dull and directionless.