Aquaria

Moby ID: 31533

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 85% (based on 24 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 38 ratings with 2 reviews)

A game by only two people - who knew what the were doing.

The Good
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 Bad
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

One of the more ambitious indie games out there.

The Good

  • Good well paced gameplay
  • A lot of variety in enemy design, abilities and puzzles
  • Beautiful graphics
  • Great soundtrack
  • Great voice acting
  • Lengthy


The Bad

  • 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

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Alsy, Zeppin, Jeanne, Kabushi, Scaryfun, GTramp, Solid Flamingo, jaXen, Cantillon, Patrick Bregger, Paul Franzen, chirinea, Wizo, RhYnoECfnW.