Did you know that there was a PSone sequel to Theme Park and Theme Hospital named Theme Aquarium which only released in Japan? The maritime attraction simulator is a bit of an underground gem, and it’s bemusing to think that the idea has barely been explored since. Megaquarium, fortunately, brings the fun of making your very own Sealife Centre to the PlayStation 4 – and with Sony’s system seriously short on park builders, it fills a nice gap in the console’s library.
Functioning just like those aforementioned Bullfrog classics, the campaign shows you the ropes, as you install tanks, purchase fish, and generally try to keep your guests entertained. Each poisson has different requirements, so you’ll need to add heaters, food distributors, and shelter to keep them happy. Creating an efficient aquarium, with the right kind of sealife, staff, and facilities takes time and effort – and it makes the sandbox mode particularly entertaining, as you bring your nautical site to life.
The visuals – which lean on block colours and cartoon characters – can be a bit flat, and the controls can be cumbersome when carrying out more complicated tasks. However, there’s a great business management experience here; the gameplay may seem shallow at first blush, but plunge a little deeper and you’ll find plenty of depth. Considering that this is an underrepresented genre on console, may we recommend you consider it as a complement to Two Point Hospital this Christmas, as you remember Theme Park’s infamous slogan: “Big business is big fun.”