PS4 Review: Aquarist

Does this simulator sink or swim?

Create and observe Aqua World! Learn more about fish and their behaviour and take responsibility for their lives. Control the temperature, environment and nourishment to provide a suitable environment. Don’t forget to develop your aquarium and after a while you will be able to open an aquarist shop! Run your store the best you can! Take care of the exhibition, sell ready-made projects and carry out individual orders. In the heat of your duties, do not forget about your charges – you are responsible for ensuring their safety, health and food.

Aquarist begins as your dad walks in your room and gives you a fish tank for your birthday, which acts as the game tutorial. It shows you the basics like buying items to place in your tank, including the filter, rocks and of course, the fish. There are other elements to put in place like the right pH balance and so on, which can be pretty technical but essential for your fish to live long, happy lives. You later get the chance to create and run your own aquarium, a shop and take on projects and orders for customers.

The bad news is that the game has no trouble getting in its own way. Something as simple as placing a rock in the tank can become a nightmare at times and in some cases, won’t work at all unless you reset the entire game.

There have been times where I have pressed every button on the controller for nothing to happen without a reset,  It feels like yet another poor optimised game for consoles, which I bet handles a lot more effectively on a PC. It doesn’t help that the visuals are pretty poor and the framerate also seems to be inconsistent. The audio is ok but nothing much to write about.

The Verdict

Aquarist is another game that feels like it should have just stuck to PC instead of consoles. It’s controls and interface are awkward, it has technical hiccups and just feels broken at times. It’s a shame because it had a lot of potential and I love being able to run an aquarium plus it’s gift shop. But the sad truth is that it just can’t deliver a reliable experience throughout which holds it back greatly.

Score: 5.5