And it has to be said that the overall ambiance backs up that attitude. While not a stunning feast of visual detail, Endless Ocean is one of the nicest looking games I’ve seen on Wii, mainly thanks to some gorgeous underwater lighting, well-designed environments and some lifelike, well-animated creatures. I’d love to see a version of this running on the 360 or PS3, with more intricate coral and more realistic textures, yet Endless Ocean does capture some of the feeling of swimming around in warm blue waters and getting close to the aquatic fauna in the immediate locale. Add in a worryingly pleasant Classic FM style soundtrack featuring New Zealand chanteuse Hayley Westenra and time drifts by in a thoroughly agreeable fashion – providing you like this sort of thing. Don’t worry if the game’s choice of music horrifies you, either, as the game allows you to use your own MP3 soundtrack from a plugged-in SD memory card.
It’s not that there’s nothing to do or no sense of progression. The game packs in side-quests, from collecting fish information to sorting out the local aquarium to taking requested photos and sending them off to a local agent. You can train dolphins to do tricks and muck around with visiting penguins, or just sit back in a lounger and watch the waves. There’s even a slightly weird side-plot regarding a colleague and her dead father. With all this plus a sizable chunk of ocean to explore, there’s actually quite a lot to do.
What’s more, the Ocean throws up more and more spectacular secrets as the game goes on. The first sight of a whale is genuinely impressive, while undersea caves, deep rifts and sunken ruins offer moments of awe to those with the right mentality. If you liked watching the BBC’s The Blue Planet, there’s a good chance that you’ll like playing this. Plus, as you get the chance to learn about the fish, aquatic mammals and sea-going reptiles in the area, you could even describe Endless Planet as educational.