Despite rumors spread by a singing crab, it’s rarely better down where it’s wetter. Very few good things ever happen under the sea, especially when it comes to the construction of submerged cities—or so I thought until I saw the gameplay trailer for Aquatico, a survival city builder set at the bottom of the ocean. Rapture may have been an unmitigated disaster, but it looks like things are going pretty smoothly here.
In Aquatico you’re not building an underwater city just to dodge taxes like Andrew Ryan, but because the surface world is now an utter wasteland and the remnants of humanity have fled below the waves for shelter. Down on the seabed you’ll construct production and industrial buildings, while the levels above are capped with giant domes and devoted to housing, leisure, and other buildings for your citizens.
And while you’re constructing your undersea city you’ll also be doing some exploring. Send out expeditions, Frostpunk-like, in the form of drones and submarines to discover new resources. You can also see mechs striding around on the seafloor in the trailer, pipelines stretching between buildings to move resources, and plenty of curious sea creatures like sharks and manta rays swimming around your city. There’s also a little heart shown in the UI—your submerged citizenry will need to be kept more than dry, they’ll need to be kept happy as well.
It looks pretty neat and despite all terrible and terrifying bad underwater experiences in videogames, I’m definitely interested in managing and growing a city under the ocean. Aquatico isn’t the only underwater city building game we’ve spotted recently: Molly wrote about Abyssals, which appeared on The PC Gaming Show, though that city builder takes place on an alien waterworld instead of at the bottom of an earthbound ocean.
Aquatico is being developed by Digital Reef Games in conjunction with Overseer Games, who published the excellent (aboveground) survival city builder Patron. There’s no release date for Aquatico beyond Q3 2022, but that’s not all that far away. Here’s its page on Steam.