Aqua Pets is a freemium fish tank game that’s fun, but ultimately nothing special.
Freemium fish tank games quickly spread from social incarnations like Happy Aquarium to mobile incarnations like Tap Fish. Aqua Pets is Bionic Panda’s take on the genre, and while it offers few surprises, it’s still very pleasant diversion.
Like most freemium fish tank games, in Aqua Pets you catch fish and choose which ones to display in a fish tank mode (which you can optionally set as your phone’s wallpaper). While many fish tank games take a very management-oriented approach to care and breeding of your fish, Aqua Pets emphasizes catching the fish as part of a simpler action-oriented mini-game.
When you boot up Aqua Pets, you’re given a supply of black bugs to use as bait and taught how to catch fish by tapping the screen at the correct times. Good timing rewards you with a bonus to your fish’s potential rarity while poor timing is likely to result in the fish escaping and your bait being wasted. As you catch fish, they go automatically into your tank or, if they won’t fit, into storage. While some fish tank games make cleaning and feeding your fish a major part of gameplay, Aqua Pets is more relaxed. Your tank doesn’t seem to get dirty and your fish don’t seem to starve, though you can earn bonuses by keeping them well-fed.
There are some RPG-like elements to Aqua Pets, as the game’s goal is ultimately to catch the game’s rarest fish and doing this requires leveling up. As you level up, you can begin purchasing higher-quality bait and higher-quality rods that attract rarer fish. You can also spend real money on premium bait that guarantees rare fish catches. If you don’t care to spend money, you can still catch quite a few fish at higher qualities like legendary just by fishing a lot and getting lucky. The default bait, black bugs, regenerate at a rate of 1 bug per every 5 minutes up to a maximum of 25 bugs.
Aqua Pets seems to be designed to run in the background of your phone, waiting to be brought up to help kill time when you’re on a train or stuck waiting in line. Aqua Pets works well as a portable game, since catching fish is a quick process and managing your tank is very simple. The major downside to Aqua Pets seems to be stability. The game was tested on an HTC Incredible and seemed to crash every three to four hours. Other Android processes also seemed to crash more frequently while Aqua Pets was running in the background, most notably the MMS process. While Aqua Pets is enjoyable enough, it’s not really worth giving up the ability to send or receive text messages.
Just as a game, Aqua Pets is engaging enough. The fish designs are colorful and range from realistic to positively ridiculous, which makes customizing your tank quite fun. The game itself is perfectly simple and easy to play, making it a good fit for parents who like to keeps kid-friendly games on their phone. The process crash issue may keep a player from running it as intended, though, and ultimately there are quite a few similar fish tank games available for Android. Aqua Pets is worth a look, but so are a lot of its competitors.