Yes, there was probably a time when Nintendogs was a silly idea, rather than the bringer of world peace and cure for all humanity’s ills it actually was. But the fact remains: Aquarium DS is very silly indeed.
It’s not that a game where you plonk aquatic creatures in a tank and watch them swim around to music from Teletext isn’t fun. As “tankmaster” you’re limited to throwing bits of crill in, scrubbing crap off the sides and doing underwater feng shui with plastic models of the Coliseum - but it’s hypnotic. There’s little of the interaction that made Nintendogs such a joy, but then you don’t go sploshing in a tank hoping for a face-lick.
No, the silliness comes from the fact there are two editions. The first is fair game: goldfish, tropicals and the usual. The second, though, is another kettle of fish entirely. Scrolling through our options, we were mildly surprised to see turtles and penguins. Then we hit sperm whales. And, as if bringing a six meter long mammal back from the garden center wasn’t an odd enough idea in itself, Aquarium DS plays havoc with size concerns in the smaller of your five tanks, so you can get a killer whale darting around a seahorse that’s twice its size, while dolphins the size of shrimp meander by.
Still. It’s all very pleasant. Just remember: a sperm whale is for life, not just Christmas.