WiiWare Roundup • Page 2

Strong Bad Episode 1 and My Aquarium.

There's even online functionality, as you can take a photo at any time - or pose in a photo booth wearing an assortment of unlockable costume items - and then send the resulting picture to people on your Wii Friends list. Whereas most point-and-click adventures don't exactly exude instant replay value, I found that after my first playthrough of Strong Bad (about three and a bit hours, by the way) I'd only discovered a fraction of the secrets. Just as well that completing the story opens up an Extended Play mode where you can keep looking for everything you missed.

Strong Bad is funny, varied and just the right length for an episodic game. The puzzles aren't particularly strong - though they're as good as anything in the recent Sam & Max games - but this is balanced out by the additional stuff to find and muck about with. There's more here than the usual adventure game Easter eggs, where you click on everything you see to hear some funny quips. The only downside is an annoying freezing bug - it occurred for me while using the photo booth - that apparently has something to do with the Wii's widescreen settings. Flip it to standard display and all is well, at least according to the internets. Even so, naughty naughty.

That aside, this is an extremely promising start for another episodic game and I'm holding out hope that this one can avoid the repetition that slightly marred the later Sam & Max episodes. Wherever it takes the series next, Telltale clearly isn't sticking to a proven formula, and that can only be a good thing for the adventure genre on the whole.

8/10

My Aquarium

  • Developer: Hudson Soft
  • Publisher: Hudson Soft
  • Wii Points: 500
  • In Real Money: GBP 3.50 / EUR 5 (approx)

It's tricky to know how to grade something like My Aquarium, given that it's more of a simplistic software toy than anything we'd recognise as a game. Like the name subtly suggests, it's a virtual aquarium that lets you watch digital fish swimming about to the strains of classical music.

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Blow up this screenshot and you're practically playing a demo.

You can change the scenery and ornaments in the tank, select the type of gravel at the bottom, and wiggle the remote to shake food into the water. Clicking on a particular fish zooms the view closer, and follows the fish in question. You can "tap" on the "glass" and some fish will investigate while other swim away. Keep checking back each day and more fish are added to your selection. Oh, and you can set specific dates as special. On these days, the fish will do a "dance" for you. You can also send aquariums to friends.

That really is all there is to it, so it's a good thing it clocks in at the bottom of the WiiWare price range. There's more to it than the broadly similar (but twice as pricey) Pokmon Ranch, but even judged as an interactive distraction, it still feels a little light. The whole appeal hinges on how well you're able to customise the aquarium - it is called My Aquarium, after all. And it's here that it falls flat. The decorations are minimal and uninspired. There's not even a plastic treasure chest or bubbling deep-sea diver model, let alone anything more innovative. Why not let people use their own picture files as the backdrop, for instance?

I'm certainly not averse to this sort of thing appearing on WiiWare but My Aquarium feels like half an idea, lazily executed. If you like the idea of a virtual fish-tank, and don't mind that your input is minimal, then the price is about as right as it'll ever get for this sort of thing.

3/10

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