Game Review

Zenquaria: Virtual Aquarium Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Marcel van Duyn

Not too deep

With a rather good and successful aquarium simulator already available and a sequel underway, it seems rather futile of Nintendo to release a version themselves at a slightly higher price. Created by Paon of DK King of Swing, Jungle Climber and Barrel Blast fame, Zenquaria's primarily toted feature is the ability to swim around an aquarium as your Mii.

In terms of general features, the game is almost identical to Hudson's effort. It gives you access to a number of different aquariums devoted to one specific species of fish each that you can fully customise as you see fit. This entails picking their exact location in the tank, the image displayed in the background, the accompanying music and what’s to decorate the tank’s floor.

There's a fairly decent variety of each, so you should be able to find something that you like. The objects floating around the fish tank are not in fixed positions – the game will present you with a grid so you that can mix and match, putting everything into the non-overlapping positions that you prefer.

If you're the type who likes to know everything that there is to know, it the game includes an encyclopaedia in which it's possible to look up information on a variety of fish. You can find out exactly where they're found, the usual temperature of the water in which they live and more. You'll also see question marks floating about that present you with a challenging fish-related trivia question.

The ability to swim around your aquarium is mediocre at best, and lacks something that we thought would be a given – free control. Once you've picked a Mii, all that you can do is watch as it automatically selects a path and swims around on its own.

The graphics are quite nice, both the fish and even the aquarium looking pretty realistic. There are also a number of camera angles, so you can leave the game on as a potential screensaver with your favourite view. All in all, however, the visuals are unremarkable when compared to My Aquarium. Another disappointing feature with which this title fails to separate itself from the latter is the substandard MIDI classical music that scores the experience.


If you’re in the market for a bucolic, aquatic and mostly decorative program such as this, Zenquaria isn't the worst choice you could make. Having but one mediocre feature over Hudson's offering and costing 100 more points, it all really comes down to whether you'd rather pay more for that little bonus and support Nintendo or just get the cheaper deal.

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User Comments (17)



Klapaucius said:

Disappointing that it doesn't let you swim around freely. Judging from the videos and screenshots, I'd have thought you could. I'd feel cheated if I got this, considering the swimming would be the main selling point that puts this above My Aquarium.

My Aquarium has got many hours of use from me... very nice to put on on a sunny day to relax, read a book or something, or watch the fish going around. Doubt I'll bother with My Aquarium 2, though. One is enough.

If you already own My Aquarium, probably no need for this then.



SKTTR said:

What is better in Zenquaria than in My Aquarium?

I have both "games", and first of all, Zenquaria has much better graphics, backgrounds, and animation. While in My Aquarium the fish only swam slowly from one end of the aquarium to the other, Zenquaria has some wild vividness. Zenquaria also has approx. 40 kinds of fish from the very beginning (in My Aquarium you have to unlock them). Zenquaria has much better and more information on each kind of fish (a very nice info brochure, that teaches you lots, and not just two lines of forgettable text like in My Aquarium.
Yeah, that's it. The Mii diving in Zenquaria is rubbish. It only has 5 classical songs compared to My Aquarium's 40 classical songs and you can't send fishtanks over wi-fi.
Oh yes, Zenquaria has prawns and snails, and My Aquarium has jellyfish instead. Still no glass sucking catfish though

First, an aquarium screensaver needs beautiful graphics and Zenquaria's graphics are really nice compared to the slow and boring fish animations and blurry backgrounds of My Aquarium.
Second, you can learn a lot about aquarium fishes with Zenquaria. Good for kids and people who want to get a real aquarium.

All in all, I think Zenquaria is better, but don't expect a retail fish simulator, the features are still limited.



Moco_Loco said:

I have My Aquarium and it still gets occasional use when my 4-year-old asks for it. I was hoping you would actually be able to swim around the tank in Zenquaria, though even this limited feature might be entertaining to my little one. "Look! I'm swimming in the fish tank!"

I still might pick it up when it comes to the U.S.



Robo-goose said:

This all sounds good for six dollars, but I still think a simulated aquarium isn 't right for me.



imapterodactyl said:

I'm surprised about this:

"All in all, however, the visuals are unremarkable when compared to My Aquarium".

The graphics in My Aquarium are fairly terrible, and based solely on screenshots, this looks miles beyond it.



TKOWL said:

If I wanted to watch virtual fish for hours, I would Super-Glue my eyes to a TV set and play every episode of the Snorks twice.



Draygone said:

Come now, Nintendo. Just because other developers have a hard time copying you doesn't mean that you'll do a good job copying them.



Kenji510 said:

i want this game to come out in the US... been waiting on it for awhile.. love the fishes and tanks haha.



gaminguy said:

good review, but I don't think my aquarium is really good. You said it was an 8, as well as my zoo, but I guess everyone has there own opinion.
I won't get this, why should I when I have fish to look at already at my house? (It's a big tank, so I probably have about 20).



SKTTR said:

My Aquarium gets a 4/10 from me.
My Zoo gets a 2/10 from me. (One of the worst games ever.)
Zenquaria gets a 5/10 from me.

I need to correct an earlier statement: I now found two glass sucking catfish in Zenquaria!!



rjejr said:

I have My Aquarium - thanks SKTTR for the comparisons - and considered getting this for my boys until this part of the review here:

and lacks something that we thought would be a given – free control.

Why bother putting in Mii's if you can't control them?

Maybe someday we'll get PvZ on WiiWare (we got Bejeweled so I suppose it could happen) and I'll just leave my Zen sea garden on the screen.



bioniccheese said:

SKTTR you said it well in your extensive comment .i downloaded zenquaria and in short zenquaria gives more realism while my aquarium gives more designing options.

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