Which Map Should You Pick In Aquatico?


sunken ships and submarines in aquatico

Aquatico has thirteen pre-generated maps on which players can build the underwater city of their dreams. Each features a different breakdown of available resources, from fertile seabed to fish, fuel, and minerals. Even space is a resource as some maps feature tight quarters that can hamper your city’s growth.

Related: Aquatico: Beginner Tips & Tricks

The game divides the maps broadly in to two categories of difficulty; “Normal” and “Challenge.” We took it a step further and assessed each map’s overall difficulty. Whether you want a chill city-building experience or a true test of your management skills, this list has all you need to know to pick the right site for your settlement.


13 Submerged Prairie

A true sandbox map, Submerged Prairie has enormous amounts of buildable sea floor, loosely dotted with mountains you’ll need to build around. Its Fertile, Oil-rich and Ore-rich terrains are all plentiful and wide, so you’ll always have resources to exploit as your population grows.

If you just want to relax and build a city on the ocean floor, Submerged Prairie is the best map to do it on. How much of the map can you cover?

12 Wasteland

wasteland on the map select screen

Wasteland is a great map for beginners, ideal for learning the game’s terrain types and strategies. It’s got plenty of Fertile terrain and large oil fields in the west, along with healthy Uranium deposits in the corners and plentiful Abyss access for fishing. Wasteland also boasts large swathes of neutral terrain, making it great for players who don’t like to feel like they’re losing value by building over specialty tiles.

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Wasteland’s main challenge is its comparative lack of Ore-rich terrain. Mining operations have to be restricted to the base of the mountain at the center of the map, and the east side is divided by a narrow Abyss. To circumvent this (at least partially), try building Domes connected by cable cars on either side of the divide.

11 Descent

descent on the map select screen

If you like building highly-specialized production centers, then Descent is the map for you. Drill for oil in the center of the map, grow crops in the middle, and dig for minerals in the outer corners.

While access to the Abyss can be somewhat limited in parts of the map, there’s a large area at the norther edge that’s perfect for fishing with Cages. No matter where you put your Subsurface Base, Descent has everything you need to build a thriving settlement.

10 Shallow Reef

shallow reef on the map select screen

The first map that appears on the selection screen can be considered the “default” map, and it’s a middling challenge. On the one hand, most of the terrain is either Fertile or Ore-Rich, which means you’ll never lack for basic resources. On the other hand, Shallow Reef requires you to build in tight quarters, with lots of mountains and reefs obstructing otherwise-useful space.

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Abyss access is very limited on this map, while the oil fields are sparse and slender. To top it off, the large mountain in the southern part of the map prevents players from making full use of the stage’s circular shape.

9 Sunken Rift

sunken rift on the map select screen

This map has two large buildable areas, divided by an Abyss that can only be crossed over a narrow isthmus. Eventually you can use cable cars to help connect the two halves of the map, but for much of the game you’ll want to stick to one.

The southern half of the map has less area overall thanks to the large mountains, but has better resource access. The Fertile terrain in the middle is one of the best spots for farming in the entire game, so be sure to take advantage of it!

8 Blue Caldera

blue caldera on the map select screen

This map’s standout feature is its namesake, an enormous volcano that effectively blocks off a quarter of the sea floor. This restricts your construction to the western half of the map, so you’ll need to be smart about how you use space.

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Blue Caldera can be especially tricky in terms of oil and minerals, since its deposits are long and narrow. While there is buildable land around the far edge of the volcano, the distances involved and general lack of space make it not worth pursuing.

7 Deep Passage

deep passage on the map select screen

Deep Passage can pose a challenge in the mid-to-late game thanks to the rocky terrain in the middle. Use Navigation Signs to speed up traffic between the two halves of the map, especially if you plan to exploit the large ore deposits in the mountains.

As long as you can contend with the impassible terrain scattered across Deep Passage, it’s a fantastic map in terms of resources. Even Uranium is plentiful, which is a rare bonus.

6 Neptune’s Throne

neptune's throne on the map select screen

This map plays like a maze. The narrow Abysses running through the middle force you to build snaking districts. In the late game, you’ll need to rely heavily on cable cars to get your citizens to and from their destinations.

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Other than the topographical challenges, Neptune’s Throne plays like most other maps. You can even turn all those Abysses to your advantage by fishing them near your farms, giving your Collector Drones a one-stop shop for food.

5 Dark Abyss

dark abyss on the map select screen

Don’t let the name scare you – Dark Abyss has wide areas of Fertile terrain and plentiful fishing. Its oil fields are large but concentrated in a few key spaces, which limits your starting options, but any area with oil is an equally-viable place to set up shop.

Dark Abyss features some narrow passages that are rich in ores – be careful not to block off your own expansion when you place mines and quarries!

4 The Boundary

the boundary on the map select screen

The Boundary has lots of great areas for farming and mining, but has only a few areas where you can drill for oil. This limits your options in terms of starting locations, and there are lots of rocks and mountains that can impede expansion.

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A good spot to start is between the central and southwestern mountains. This gives you ready access to a decently-sized oil field and room to grow. When the time comes to start your mariculture operations, there’s a good-sized area of Fertile terrain just to the north, and an Abyss to the west.

3 Crater Island

crater island on the map select screen

Crater Island is a small but relatively open map; except for a few notable mountains in the corners, you can pretty much build however you want. The tradeoff, however, is that Crater Island is one of the least-fertile maps in the game.

To offset this, rely on fishing and gathering for your early food base, using fields to grow multipurpose crops like Seaweed. Save your money to build lots of Cages and the infrastructure to power them. Crater Island has nearly-unmatched Abyss access, so lots of Cages are well worth the expense. Be ready to import food in the late game to keep your variety level satisfactory, though!

2 Underwater Sierra

underwater sierra on the map select screen

This map has a trap built into its design. The circular portion in the upper left looks like a great place to put your base and start building, but you’ll quickly run up against the surrounding mountains. It’s much better to start in the southwest corner; the terrain is rockier, so you may have to get creative with zoning, but there are just as many resources plus Abyss access.

Once you unlock Large Domes, the northwestern valley is a great place to plan your late-game construction. Run a pipeline through the narrow pass on the western side of the map (it’s not good for much else). Underwater Sierra can be a tough map, but it’s one of the most rewarding in the game.

1 Beneath The Ocean

beneath the ocean on the map select screen

If you’ve already built some successful cities in Aquatico and want to truly test your skills, Beneath The Ocean is the place to do so. With narrow lanes for building, limited oil, and low fertility, you’ll have to adapt your strategy to succeed on this map.

Beneath The Ocean does have huge amounts of minerals to mine, so the best strategy is to aggressively dig for gold and diamonds. Produce industrial quantities of Gold Jewelry, then have your Trade Companies export them. You’ll need to profits to bring in enough food to feed your people – once your population reaches several hundred, you’ll have a hard time maintaining self-sufficiency on this map.

Next: Aquatico: The Best City Layouts

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