Anyone that knows me, knows that I love sim builer games and anything that has me manage things. Well, I happened to see Megaquarium on the Xbox Store a while back and when I read the description and saw the word tycoon in there I knew I had to play this. Let me just say, I am so glad I did. You’ll be in charge of creating the best aquariums out there for guests to enjoy. There are plenty of scenarios to complete and then a sandbox mode to let you go wild. Yes, you should check this game out if you like tycoon games. Auroch Digital did a fantastic job with this game making inviting for anyone to play and enjoy.

Megaquarium puts you in charge of building and rebuilding aquariums to greatness. You’ll have to manage your staff, create attractions, add facilities to your building among many other things. You’ll have to keep an eye on your fish to be sure they are living comfortably. That means making sure water temps are correct, water is filtered correctly, good lighting, accessories to keep them happy and feeding them. Well, at least you have your staff to do all this for you once you put the equipment in that is necessary.

This game looks simple visually, but do not let that fool you at all. Megaquarium will require your full attention. You’ll have a top down three quarter angle of your facility. Here you can add space, build walls, build tanks, add fish and more. You can zoom in and out to your liking and rotate the camera to get the best view of things. One little hidden secret is zooming in the whole way where you will get a floor level view of your aquarium where you can roam around just like the guests. I especially liked doing this once I had things up and running.

In the scenario mode you’l be tasked with missions to complete. You’ll have ot keep your visitors happy while you research new animals, equipment and other things to make your aquarium better. You’ll even raise animals to trade with other places. Each animal will have certain requirments that you have to meet whether it water temperature, the amount of fish in the tank, foliage, rock cover or lighting. Take into account all of these thing when putting fish into a tank and especially when you mix species. You’ll earn reputation stars from being successful and experience towards researching new items.

The amount of items in the game is pretty large. There are all sorts of fish which are categorized for you nicely when you look at your menus. You’ll be able to figure out which species can be housed with others and which cannot. There are also a variety of tanks you can use to really spruce up your aquarium and keep it looking modern. Some tanks can be placed in the center of the room but you’ll have to run pumps in order to heat and oxygenate the water properly. You’ll want to hide these tanks behind walls where only your staff can enter through a staff only door. As you progress through the game you’ll learn all sort of techniques that become useful in really making an efficient aquarium.

As you hire staff, they will feed your fish, clean up the place and even fix breakdowns in equipment. Each staff member can have a specialty thing that they focus on solely before doing other tasks. For instance, you can make a staff member your full time mechanic. They’ll fix things when they break down and then help out other staff when not busy. You will have ot be sure there is equipments for the staff to use such as feeding boxes, tool benches, broom racks and sinks. These items will need to be placed in various areas to be the most efficient. You don’t want your staff to have to walk to far.

There are stats galore for you to look at. You can keep an eye on how profitable your facility is and see where your problem areas are. You can check out everything on the floor individually like fish tanks to see what might need attention. The menus give you access to the stats, as well as your your building needs and store items like your animals. On the right side of the screen you’ll see your current missions which will check off as you complete each item. I really thought the game visuals were laid out very nicely. Its just a matter of pressing the D-Pad to navigate to each panel. So before you know it you’ll be navigating the menu’s pretty easily.

Once you have finished up all the scenarios you can focus on just building your own aquarium. You can choose to play the game normally or just unlock everything for use right from the beginning. I prefer to research everything rather than unlock it all straight from the start because it can actually get a bit overwhelming looking at all the equipment, types of fish and more if you are not used to it. The scenarios teach you how to use most of the equipment or how it works so you’ll really want to make sure you run through the scenarios before jumping into the sandbox.

Now one of the issues I ran into was accidentally deleting things and not having an undo button. Its very easy to sell an item (almost too easy) from your floor. On several occasions I accidentally sold a whole tank that I set up. Why? Well, I would go in to edit something in the tank and forget that I actually had to open up the tank menu to sell individual items in the tank. Instead, I would think I had a plant highlighted in the main view and would hit sell and poof there went my tank. So I really wish the game would guard you a little better from doing such dumb things. Totally, my fault but I really do need dumby proofing on games. I do hope they add more content, like new scenarios and more items like fish. While there is a lot in the game, I can see a lot of potential in adding even more. Possibly even allowing us to create outdoor tanks for Killer Whales, Dolphins, etc. That would allows you to put on shows as well. Just some suggestions I thought of.

This game is a treat to play. Its laid back and never too stressful. The info bubbles that come up over your tanks tell you exactly what you need to do in order to correct situations. You’ll be running successful aquariums in no time flat. The game is simplistic in delivery but its very complex underneath. You’ll have all sorts of managing to do as you build your facility and I really enjoyed that. I really enjoying just having full reign on creating the aquariums how I would like them rather than being scripted into a certain design. Even with the missions, you are free to do what you want and that’s what makes this game great. Its simple for anyone to pick up and play and can go as deep as you would like it to go. If you like these types of game then its a no brainer here. You’ll want to pick this up immediately and began making all your aquarium dreams come true.

Score: 85 out of 100

*** A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review and streaming purposes.

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