In Aquarist VR you are tasked with building aquariums for humans, and it all starts with a flashback to your childhood. Buy fish, decorate them and make sure everything is up to their standards!
Starting with the tutorial: it was very buggy. At first things went well as I built the first aquarium and followed all the steps; However, as soon as I had to go downstairs to help the father, my character refused to move. It took me three reboots to realize that it was because I had my walking set to teleport – once I changed that, I was free to move around the house.
That was a bit unfortunate as I get pretty bad motion sickness. I decided to use sit mode to help with this, and then I faced another conundrum: I couldn’t reach items that were on the floor. After trying to fix it for a while I gave up and just bought more of all the items that fell off… until my clipboard fell on the floor and I was forced to fix the error again.
Eventually, with the help of my wife, I found a solution: I would leave it in standing mode, but play around with the height to stay seated. Luckily this fixed the issues and I was able to play the game again and eventually pass the tutorial.
While the lack of reasonable accessibility was a bit of a shame, the problems don’t end there. It feels like my experience with the Aquarist VR was probably the worst virtual reality experience I’ve had to date, as there’s no way to easily pick up items without constantly bending down or grabbing, it took a long time , until I figured out how to put the fish in the water (you just have to levitate them over the aquarium and release) and the decoration is pretty unintuitive.
There’s something very awkward about the way I had to raise my arm above my head to place items that didn’t have gravity. This meant I had to stretch quite a bit to place them correctly, until I gave up on realism and instead slid my virtual arms through the glass. While not a huge issue, it was a bit disappointing to see that whatever I placed just freezes.
Also, there’s no way to randomly grab items for easier placement: they all snap into your hand in a specific position. This caused my wrists to hurt quite a bit trying to rotate the decorations properly due to my De Quervain’s disease.
And last but not least, I want to mention that the graphics were a bit off. My hands were the size of a toddler’s, and my height made everyone around me seem like a child. I felt very out of place in the houses and areas overall.
All in all, Aquarist VR still has some room for improvement. While the idea is pretty neat, the execution definitely needs some more tweaking – especially when it comes to the accessibility options.