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Underwater city builder Aquatico puts humanity’s future in your hands

Aquatico is an underwater city builder on Steam that feels like Subnautica meets Cities Skylines, and its new update adds a story mode and a creative sandbox.

Aquatico update - image of a bearded man with swept-back hair, in front of a sprawling underwater city

If you haven’t played Aquatico, the underwater city-building game on Steam just got a huge update that makes it the perfect time to jump in. For those of you that have, the submerged simulator that gleefully smashes together the likes of Subnautica and Cities Skylines is now even better than before. The second major Aquatico update adds a lengthy story quest that spans the entire game, along with the option to play in a freeform creative mode.

The Aquatico update includes two completely new ways to play. When starting a new game, you’ll now have the choice of three distinct options. The first of these is Sandbox mode, which is what those of you who’ve played Aquatico previously will be familiar with. The second option, Story mode, is very similar but includes the Atlantis Project campaign – a long, story-driven quest chain that lasts for your entire campaign.

Understandably the team doesn’t want to give away too many specifics, but explains that the Atlantis Project is “an incredible endeavour led jointly by all scattered underwater colonies,” of which yours is just one such settlement. The Atlantis missions each have their own separate objectives, will see you interact with a variety of unique characters, and introduce a number of additional research projects as you work towards “creating something capable of ensuring a lasting future for humanity.”

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Finally, Creative mode goes in completely the opposite direction, removing most of the challenges imposed by the main sandbox and story modes to allow you freedom to build your perfect underwater empire. Game rules are tweaked, resources are infinite, there’s an endless supply of people and drones, all research projects and buildings are unlocked, and you won’t encounter challenges or disasters. It’s the perfect way to relax and enjoy the peaceful satisfaction of building without any stress or hassle.

The Aquatico update is out now on Steam. It also includes new voiceovers, cutscenes, sub-selections in the buildings menu, tweaks to biome maps including a new one, and some balancing and bug fixes. The team has provided a full changelog on its Steam page. The game is also 33% off in a sale until April 10, so you can get it cheap if you move fast.

Take a look at more of the best sandbox games on PC if you love creating in a freeform virtual world, or the best management games if taking charge of proceedings is to your liking.