Do you ever wonder about the city of Atlantis? Was it really a myth? If we can manage to lose two planes in as many months in the deep, dark waters of the ocean, there’s probably a good chance that we might have missed something. Maybe Godzilla’s even down there. Who knows? I do know there’s a scary bottomless hole in the Caribbean Sea, just off Guatemala and no one knows what’s down there. The ocean is a scary place. But if you too are fascinated by the mysteries beneath the waves and enjoy fantasies of the sunken city of Atlantis, you should definitely check out Aquapolis, a new city-builder and farming game, out now for iOS and Android. And yes, if you haven’t guessed by now, it’s all set underwater.
There’s been a slew of these types of games in the wake of Farmville’s blazing success; some of them are good, some great, and some just plain lazy. Aquapolis is most definitely not the latter. The game is huge, engaging, and most intriguingly, genre-bending. Not content with being an in-depth city-builder, Aquapolis also introduces elements of mystery and action-adventure, the most pressing mystery being ‘why is the world suddenly covered in bloody water?’ I haven’t played enough into it to get an answer to that question, but there is a very definite narrative drive within the game, so I’d be surprised if I don’t see an answer for that before too long.
On a technical level the game looks gorgeous. The graphics and sound are extremely immersive, and the underwater setting is ideal to take full advantage of the design capabilities of the development team. It’s a game you want to go back to, and it never feels like a chore to keep building your city and farming supplies, which can often be the case with these types of game. Speaking of which, there are many, many ways to build your city and farm your crops. You’ll start with a tiny patch of land, but as you level up and learn new skills, you’ll find all sorts of options opening up, providing you with many opportunities to construct a genuine metropolis.
You’ll meet all sort of interesting characters along the way, and in that sense the game is reminiscent of those classic Japanese RPGs where you’d walk into a random village and be able to have a chat with anyone you wanted. The game sets you tasks and challenges in order to keep things fresh, and the storyline is actually very well conceived and more engaging than you might think – and remember, it doesn’t have to be! The game also features a community mode where you can team up with your real life pals via Facebook and the like. All in all, Aquapolis is a very well realised game with a genuine sense of identity. If you’re on the lookout for a new city-builder or even just intrigued by the underwater setting, give this game a shot.