- Publisher: Majesco
- Developer: Aquaria Interactive
Your business here is one of fish breeding. Feed your fish, give them medicine when they're sick, cross-breed them to make better models and sell them off to buy new items for your tank in order to breed seven magical fish. That, readers, is the whole game. Now keep that in mind, and then re-imagine it as a wholly horrific, drawn-out affair where absolutely nothing exciting happens.
In some misguided effort to make this more of a realistic simulation, your fish live on even when your DS is off. Leave them for a while and they'll get hungry or sick, forcing you to check back every now and again to find out how they're doing. Now granted, you can turn this feature off if you don't want to, pausing the game effectively, but why would you when there's absolutely nothing to do except wait for your fish to grow.
Even the fastest speed option is still treacle slow. You either wait around impatiently until your pregnant fish give birth or you go play something else instead. Then you take a few hours longer than expected and come back later to find all your babies are dead despite all your efforts. Not so much Finding Nemo as finding Nemo floating like a frozen fish finger on the surface of your tank.
Even if you're on time, your breeding efforts in the early stages appear to kill off most of your sprogs outright without any say in the matter. The ones that do survive seem to starve to death if you don't hit that window of opportunity. On top of that, disease regularly hits your parent fish and you have to spend precious money on medicine. And then you realise the one fish you managed to rescue after all those hours earned 18 dollars towards the purchase of a 650-dollar plant and you cry in despair.
Checking on the developer's forums, I found that there's an effective strategy to follow to win (as well as discovering this is a port of an old PC game, where pottering about in a separate window while you're doing boring office work makes a little more sense), but why aren't there hints in-game? Even if there were, it wouldn't excuse the terrible graphics and extremely limited interaction. Even my girlfriend, who normal gets obsessive about these sorts of pet games, lasted a day before she gave up. "Just let them die," was her uncommonly heartless reply to my query toward her inaction. I'm inclined to agree.