Deep Sea Creatures Review
Posted by Lee Meyer
Collavier's Deep Sea Creatures, a slow-paced sim about deep sea fish and tank management, is not for everyone. While there is nothing particularly wrong with the game, its leisurely pace, lack of immediate challenge and poor instruction will likely turn off players looking for a more satisfying experience. For players genuinely interested in submarines, fish tanks and fish facts, there is definitely fun to be had, but it doesn't go deep enough to be satisfying in the long term.
In Deep Sea Creatures, players are given a submarine called The Nautilus and tasked with collecting fish at various depths. After discovering a fish, the player can then take it to the aquarium, where its information will be stored, or to the player's home, where it must be taken care of, fed and looked after. There is no actual "fishing" in Deep Sea Creatures; as long as players can see the fish through the Nautilus's porthole, catching it is done with a single tap of the stylus. Players can only catch one fish at a time, so there is a lot of heading back home and to the aquarium. Don't expect Steel Diver levels of control, though — this is all menu-based and there are no loading times, so heading back underwater doesn't take long at all.
Taking care of fish is the most involving part of Deep Sea Creatures. There are five tanks to store fish, and choosing the correct size and water is important to its health and wellbeing. Tanks can be decorated, which is a fun diversion, and must be cleaned periodically. Feeding fish is important, and there are a lot of different foods to use, though this proved frustrating as it isn't made clear what kind of food each fish needs. Placing certain fish together will result in breeding, while some fish will eat others (we discovered this early on by accident). Deep Sea Creatures takes a realistic approach to fish and tanks, and the aquarium gives details about each sea creature; there are several different species, but players will likely find all of them within a few hours.
The game's presentation is a mixed bag. Visually, Deep Sea Creatures is adequate. It goes for a photo-realistic style, and mostly succeeds, but the low resolution and slightly compressed look make everything look bland. The music is quite pleasant and atmospheric, and players can choose between several different songs in the options menu. While the game is menu-driven, there are very few instructions and guidance, and very rarely does the player feel a sense of progression — it's rather like being thrown into the deep end without being told what to do; luckily, there's no danger and it's impossible to get lost.
Deep Sea Creatures is the kind of game that players will either really love or play once and never come back to. Its attempts at realistic simulation don't fail, and it's interesting to learn about deep sea fish, but its shallow gameplay and limited guidance will turn off those looking for a fun, challenging title. While Deep Sea Creatures is by no means a bad game, it's definitely not for everyone.