Have you ever wanted all of the excitement that comes from owning fish, without actually having to go to the pet store? If so, then it is time for you to breathe a sigh of relief. The Developers at MBL Development have you covered. Published for PC on Steam by 2tainment GmbH, Biotope is available on Steam Early Access for $19.99USD. With the goal of making the most realistic aquarium simulator on the market, let’s dive in and get wet with Biotope.
Biotope offers all of the thrills of owning and managing an aquarium, with none of the slippery floors that come with it. Once you begin, there is a choice between four different aquariums. Each one has its individual starting parameters. The tutorial tank is purely for learning the basics. Then, if you wish to start from scratch and build the tank yourself, you’ll choose the empty tank. If you want the Amazon or Malawi tanks, you’ll start with an already made tank with fish swimming around. The Amazon and Malawi tanks give you less starting money than the empty tank. Once you’ve chosen your tank, you’ll start using the shop interface to buy plants, rocks, and various accessories to decorate your tank. After you’ve put together a beautiful aquarium, it’s time to get some fish.
Firstly, before you drop your fish in, you must check your water temperature and PH level to make sure your fish won’t die right away. In the shop interface, you can check the requirements for each type of fish, and then you must adjust accordingly. There are a lot of items in the shop that you can get to manage PH, ammonia and temperature levels. Then once you’ve adjusted the temperature and PH levels, you’re ready to drop in your fish and start feeding them. As you play through the game, you’ll be able to do various quests to earn XP and money. Leveling up unlocks additional items in the shop interface to decorate your aquarium with, and more expensive fish.
Biotope has its positives and negatives in the graphics department. Overall, the game is nice to look at, with a fair amount of detail on the fish and items. However, the effect on the water at the top of the aquarium seems a little over-animated. Biotope does not have many graphical options. It does support any resolution up to 1080p though. Unsurprisingly, during the time I spent with Biotope, I encountered no graphical issues like frame loss or stuttering. Biotope is not at all a graphically demanding game.
There isn’t much I can say about the audio in Biotope. It is an incredibly relaxing mix of bubbling tank water and classical music. If you feel the need to chill out after a particularly stressful day, Biotope may be the simulator for you.
Unfortunately, unless you are a hardcore fish person, I don’t see much playtime from Biotope. It is in early access, so there might be additional tanks added down the road. If you do happen to be a hardcore fish-lover, you’ll probably play Biotope forever. Caring for fish can be a full-time job if you choose it to.
In conclusion, Biotope does an incredible job at being a photorealistic aquarium simulator. This means two things. It’s incredibly boring to play if you’re not into fish, and if you are, you can’t pass this up. Myself personally, I fall into the former category. That’s not to say I didn’t like the game, I just can’t spend hours and hours of my day every day to just care for fish. I’m not into fish as pets, So for me Biotope is a pass.
A code was received to complete this review.
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