Megaquarium: Architect’s Collection Gameplay Preview

Developed and published by Twice Circled – November 11, 2021 (X1/S/X, PS4, S, PC)
*MSRP: $7.99 – https://store.steampowered.com/app/1339440/Megaquarium_Architects_Collection/

Megaquarium is an aquarium management sim. It’s a pretty relaxing game where you make display tanks and fill them with different fish to attract customers to earn money and unlock new fish and equipment.

The first level starts you off with a small empty floor space. The game gently eases you into the mechanics.

You start out the game in a small building with no tanks. You can expand the floor space to build up your aquarium by spending money. You place tanks, equip each tank with a water filter and heater, place some fish, and finish with some tank decorations. Each fish generates a different amount of prestige, ecology, and science points.

As you attract more customers, you’ll unlock new fish and equipment.

Prestige levels up your aquarium and attracts more customers. Ecology will unlock new fish and science will unlock more advanced tank equipment. The rarer fishes generate more points but comes at the cost of greater restrictions. For example, they may require certain decorations in the tank or may eat or bully smaller fish. It becomes a small puzzle in figuring out how to arrange each tank in order to keep each fish happy and alive while efficiently generating prestige, ecology, and science.

Efficient layout will let your employees have an easier time. In the layout above, I placed everything in a central location to minimize their movement.

Arranging the tanks correctly is not the only thing necessary in order to keep the fish alive. You also have to feed them and maintain the tank equipment as it breaks. Fortunately you can hire caretakers for your aquarium. Each employee has a different allotment of skills such as fixing, cleaning, and feeding. This also adds another layer of puzzles in the form of creating an efficient layout.

Not all employees can do all tasks. Some can only do a few so having an efficient aquarium and zone layout is key to keeping your fish alive.

Not every employee can do all three tasks. For example, one may only have the fixing skill. You can create zones to keep employees in certain areas and you can prioritize which task they should do first. If your aquarium tanks are too spread out, your employees may not be able to get to all of them in time and some fish may die as a result.

The game will have additional, optional objectives so there will always be something to do.

The game feels pretty relaxing to play. There’s really no time constraint so you can take your time designing your aquarium to be both aesthetically pleasing and efficient. The game has a nice sense of progression as you are always unlocking new fish and equipment as you play the game. The game also has some degree of flexibility to the game play. Some of the equipment, like the pump, let you design more efficient or creative aquarium layouts.

The later levels have larger floor spaces and new equipment unlocked. As you progress in each level, the game also provides you with additional objectives to complete so there is always something to do.

As for the Architect’s Collection DLC, it adds fifteen new fish and new structures such as tunnels and bridges that give you more freedom in designing your aquarium. It also adds more cosmetic items such as themed walls and dividers and lets you paint surfaces. This gives you more control and options in designing new layouts and decorating your aquarium.

Overall, Megaquarium is a pretty solid and relaxing management sim. It’s a well made sim that feels great to play. If there was one thing I would like to see added however, I do wish you could have a more close up view of the fish to watch as a way to pass the time.

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