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August 3rd, 2011, 14:44
Aquaria is in indie game that came out just before or at the very start of the wave of indie games that we have seen during the last couple of years. It is also one of the more ambitious indie games out there.

The game reminds me quite a bit of Metroid or the later 2d Castlevania games, but unlike those, you are not bound to the ground. You navigate an almost maze-like underwater environment, solve puzzles and gather objects that enhances your characters strength (this might be in the form of permanent health powerups, new abilities or items that gives you a temporary buff). Much like in the metroid games past past the second one a lot of work has been put into the bosses, that are challenging and well though out, which each boss requiring an entirely different strategy. And the bosses are not easy, most of them will probably take the average person more than one attempt.

The graphics is beautiful and varied, which each region having a different style, that still works well with the game as a whole. The music is also fitting for each region, and very well made.

If there is one thing that I could complain about it is the very start of the game. The first hour was not very fun, it felt like I was just aimlessly swimming around, trying to figure out where to go next. But after the first boss, the game got a lot better. Much like in Super Metroid the game feels open ended, but is in fact rather linear. There is an order that you are supposed to do things in, and it is often quite obvious where you are supposed to go next, but somehow the game gives you a sense of freedom.

It was also quite lengthy. While a new 2d metroid or castlevania will take me roughly 3-4h from start to finish, this one was just over 12h long (14h total time according to steam, but that includes time where I started the game, and then left the computer to do other things). Overall I do recommend this game to anyone who enjoys 2d game with a focus on exploration.
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