When Hudson released the original My Aquarium on WiiWare two years ago, it not only quickly made it to the highest reaches of the WiiWare charts but managed to hang around the top three for well over a year. Now, Hudson is trying to capture lightning in a bottle again with the release of My Aquarium 2. While there are a few new additions to the game, however, they ultimately don't seem to add enough to the overall experience to warrant a completely new purchase.
Those who've played the original release will feel right at home with this sequel in terms of its set-up and functions. You're given eight aquariums to customise and fill with all kinds of marine life and decorations. When you start out, you'll only have a select few fish to choose from, but you'll soon have access to huge varieties of aquatic creatures from which to choose. Hudson is even making additional downloadable content available a little later on to add more variety to the mix.
Stocking the tank requires nothing more than pointing and clicking to put things into place. You can choose where on the ground to place objects, add bubbles and various coloured lights and choose the flooring and background styles to enhance it to your liking. And with eight aquariums to fill, you'll have plenty of freedom with which to create your own unique fish tanks. The game even taps into the Forecast Channel and will adjust the lighting and conditions based on the weather in your area.
Once you've got everything in place, you can then maintain the aquarium, not to mention sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour. This means feeding the fish using the different types of food on hand. Different fish require different food, and you'll have to figure out what your particular pets like to keep them happy and swimming around. You'll even be able to share your aquarium creations with registered Wii friends via the WiiConnect24 function.
The developers have done a nice job of giving the look and sound of the tanks a decent amount of realism. Sure, the fishes' movements are a bit jerky at times and the sound effects sometimes seem a bit artificial, but given the file size limitations of the WiiWare service, what they were able to include is still fairly impressive. The music is adequate, but we tended to get a much better sense of realism by muting it and simply listening to the relaxing rushing water and bubbling sound effects.
My Aquarium 2 never strays too far from the formula that made it so popular the first time around, choosing instead to toss in a couple of new features and a host of new goodies to play around with and calling it a day. While this is likely to please fans of the original, it doesn't seem like enough of an upgrade to convert those who passed on the first WiiWare offering.