Description official description
Naija lives in a city on a rock floating high in the sky. She dreams of the ocean, painting pictures of the distant fascination she can never reach. One day the city is hit by meteors and she tumbles down into the endless depths of the object of her fantasy: the ocean. Instead of drowning she wakes up, transformed to fit her new environment: a cave that serves as her sanctuary for a long time. There she learns of the verse, a harmony that flows through the underwater world of Aquaria. But eventually she leaves the cave, driven out by loneliness (inspired by Metroid) and restlessness, wondering if she is the only one of her kind.
Aquaria is a 2D side-scrolling shooter with a focus on exploration. Naija can freely roam her underwater world with fluent movement, reminiscent of Ecco the Dolphin. She soon meets a dark creature that shows the hidden dangers Naija will have to face if she continues her quest. Naija is moved around large maps at a constant speed. Clicking away gives her a speed boost and she can also cling to walls to launch herself with a sudden burst, or break through the ocean surface.
To face dangers, Naija has to use the power of the verse. By right-clicking on her, eight notes of different colours are shown, and clicking them triggers a chant. By chanting the right tone at certain plants, Naija can collect items, and learn spells and recipes. In the style of Loom or The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the notes can be combined into songs to cast spells. These form shields, can be used to lift objects or change Naija to different forms with new abilities giving access to new locations. Right-clicking interacts with the environment and is used for attacking. In an items menu food and other objects can be used or cooked in combination to form new ones. During the game Naija also meets four pets that assist her and there are ancient turtles she can use to travel over large distances.
The different environments are linked from Naija's home, a central hub. Hidden treasures found while exploring are used to decorated the cave or can be used as a costume. During gameplay, a mini-map is shown in the bottom right corner and it can be enlarged to a full map. The game can be saved using red crystals scattered around the areas and it includes a level editor to create new environments and modifications.
- Аквария - Russian spelling
Credits (Windows version)
35 People (18 developers, 17 thanks) · View all
|The Voice of Naija|
|Additional Sound Effects|
|Voice of "The Creator"|
|Voice of "Eric" and "Mithala"|
|Special thanks to||
|[ full credits ]|
Average score: 85% (based on 24 ratings)
Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 38 ratings with 2 reviews)
I don't even know where to begin. For example I could write that the game has great visuals; but that barely says anything about the amazing and varied level design, the open backgrounds, the parallax scrolling combined with blur to give you sense of depth, the fantastic animations. You see it all and think it's amazing - and then you reach The Veil and suddenly it's even better. Then there's the level design, which uses all of the above tricks to make you feel like you're in a vast, open world while you're essentially swimming in corridors, and how brilliant that is because of the ability to attach to and jump off walls which is an essential part of the moveset and which would be useless otherwise. Then there's the sealife, both neutral and hostile, and how it's seemingly everywhere but at the same time so varied you can be sure you'll see something new every time you enter a new area. Then there's audio...
And so on. You get the idea.
So in short: The game has great visuals, great audio, great mechanics, huge open levels, is mostly nonlinear and over twenty hours long. Even something as simple as moving (swimming) around is enjoyable, and if that's not one of greatest praises I can give a platform game, I don't know what is.
The entire story is utter bollocks. It's almost as if they made the whole game fist and then thought "Hmmm, we'll need a story", came up with something in a day over a pizza and slapped it on. It doesn't flow, doesn't build (or relieve) tension, and doesn't really tie in with rest of the game. It also suffers from a mild Shadow of Chernobyl Syndrome - where you are given no clues for majority of the game and then suddenly everything is explained to you just before the end and/or in the outro. And don't even get me started on the secret/"true" ending. Or Li.
Another, though minor, complaint is that some of the forms are more useful than others - default, Energy and Beast definitely get the spotlight, with the rest dealing mostly with reaching hidden/secret locations.
The Bottom Line
If it wasn't for the botched story, it would be pretty much a perfect game. But almost perfect is still pretty damn good.
Windows · by Peta Michalek (8) · 2010
- Good well paced gameplay
- A lot of variety in enemy design, abilities and puzzles
- Beautiful graphics
- Great soundtrack
- Great voice acting
- Some stiff animations
- First hour was not very fun
- Ending hints at a sequel that we probably won't see
The Bottom Line
Aquaria is a very ambitious indie game, that's for sure. It gives you a massive world to explore, with plenty of secrets. Each region has its own theme, but they don't clash with each other. In fact, the world feels coherent and well though out.
As for its gameplay, it can be described as a mix between Metroid & Echo the dolphin. You swim around in this huge labyrinth like world, solve puzzles, fight enemies and gather powerups. Around the world you will find different forms that gives you different abilities. One might give you the ability to shoot enemies, while another lets you swim faster and a third one lets you see in the dark. All of these forms brings their own thing to the game, and all feel useful for more than just a single puzzle. Apart from different forms, you will also gather life powerups, items to place in your home (some are useful, others are just there for decoration) and different costumes (again, some are useful, but most are just cosmetic). The game encourages you to explore its vast underwater world, by not only giving you powerups, but also new and interesting challenges.
For a 2D metroid-like game, this game is quite lengthy. Expect your first playthrough to last you somewhere between 12-16h, if you are familiar with these types of games, and potentially far more if you are not. Even though the game is rather lengthy (for its genre), it never gets boring. The game constantly introduces new and interesting challenges and abilities, to keep things fresh. The only part that was a bit less interesting was the very start, before you get the ability to attack. The game is somewhat disorienting at first, as it offers you no clear guidance, but once you get past this first hurdle, the game will start to feel more structured, and the world will gradually open up to you.
Overall this is one of the best indie games ever made. It is fun, challenging and incredibly well through out.
Windows · by Fredrik NOD (13) · 2012
|iPad release - change in publisher||Freeman (63000)||Mar 16th, 2019|
|Would this apply to the Survival Cooking group?||chirinea (47064)||Apr 24th, 2013|
The in-game runes can be translated to reveal messages about the environment. The main menu is used as a key. When entering the menu, the runes slowly fade into English text and the examples there can be used to construct the alphabet.
- Game Tunnel
- 2007 - Independent Game of the Year
- 2007 - Adventure Game of the Year
- 2007 - Game of the Year: Graphics & Sound* Independent Games Festival (IGF)
- 2007 - Seumas McNally Grand Prize ($20,000)
Related Sites +
Official game website
Project page for the Macintosh version of the game
Mac Gamer Review
A review of the Macintosh version of <em>Aquaria</em> by The Mac Gamer's M James Peders (Dec 3rd, 2008).
Pajama Jam #1 - Aquaria
Alec Holowka performing a medley of the Aquaria soundtrack on his piano, both as video and audio-only.
- MobyGames ID: 31533
- GOG.com: aquaria
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Sciere.
Game added December 8th, 2007. Last modified September 21st, 2023.