Here fishy fishy fishy!
Aquascapes is an aquatic hidden object game with just a touch of aquarium management thrown in. It's almost like a simplified spin-off of the Gardenscape series, though instead of complicated time management interludes you can just sit back and stare at your virtual aquarium. It might be a little thin on features, but it's a clean and relaxing game that's perfect for the younger crowd.
The goal of Aquascapes is to build a beautiful aquarium populated by happy swimming fish and decorations you purchase and arrange yourself. It's a bit like owning a real life aquarium, only you never have to worry about coming home to find your little fish buddy floating upside-down in the tank. Everything is bright, shiny and happy in Aquascapes, and chances are you'll feel the exact same way whenever you spend time with this simple diversion.
In order to have a fun aquarium, you need some fish, right? Purchase new pets through the store menu, selecting fish based on price, appearance, and your current experience level. Once obtained, fish swim around the tank and need a bit of maintainence in order to stay healthy. This is largely relegated to sprinkling some fish food every once in a while. Decorations can also be purchased through the store, and there's quite a lot to choose from. Most items feature some form of interaction, such as clicking to start a quick animation, and can be placed anywhere on the screen. The fish even swim by and check out the things you bought, which is a surprisingly charming addition to the game.
Hidden object scenes are where you earn money to spend on the cool stuff you can't wait to buy. You're presented with a standard menu of items and must sift through screens of aquatic-themed debris to pick out everything on the list. No real surprises here, and the difficulty is a bit on the low side, so don't expect too much of a challenge.
Over time your tank will blossom into a lean, mean, fish-housing machine. Eventually you'll move on to own multiple tanks with different background themes you can decorate as you please. It adds a little extra in the form of long-term goals, turning you from an aquarium owner into some sort of aqua-mogul.
When trying out a game like Aquascapes, keep in mind it isn't designed to be an end-all hidden object or aquarium simulation experience. The content, while vibrant and fun, always feels thin, and you'll often wonder if you're playing a browser or a Facebook game instead of a downloadable title. That's when you should just sit back in your chair and relax. Aquascapes is simply a diversion. It's not one of those games where you're supposed to do a mad rush to get all the trophies and achievements in a single go. Instead, it's a relaxing game with a bit of challenge and a whole lot of personality.
- Easy to play. Well-suited for kids. Lovely graphics with cheery fish that are pretty much guaranteed to brighten your day.
- Not a lot of actual gameplay to be had.