Well, I didn’t expect to nearly burst into tears at the proof-of-concept demo for a management this week, but life is full of surprises, I suppose. The demo in question was for Among Ripples: Shallow Waters, a self-described “eco tycoon sim” slated for release next year, and I’ve had an eye on it for a while as part of my continuing mission to play as many games as possible dedicated to the simulated husbandry of fish. The nearly-bursting-into-tears in question, meanwhile, was prompted by the appearance of a pike – but we’ll get to that. First, I’ll tell you what the game entails.
Set in Sweden, it’s a top-down, free-camera affair about repairing freshwater ecosystems. You’re an ecologist, working to stock polluted, depleted bodies of water with plants and animals, and get things working like they should do. Plants oxygenate and filter water, creatures breed, and predators eat prey. The more your ecosystems burgeon, the more arbitrary money you get, and the more organisms you can stock. You can dig out the land around ponds to expand them. And at the moment, that’s it. Even for a prototype, it’s extremely basic, and developers Eat Create Sleep have a lot of work to do if they want to make it complex enough for extended play. But I can say, without hesitation, that what’s there at the moment is one of the most likeable things I’ve dredged from the management game vortex in a long while.