Aquaria was a game I had heard about close to a year ago, but I passed it by because there was so many other games to play. With its recent release on Steam I thought I’d finally play it, and man I wish I had picked it up sooner. Everything about this indie title is simply beautiful. From the music, to the scenery, to the story and characters, Aquaria is one of those games that manages to completely draw you into its world. The premise of Aquaria is that you are Naija, a sea dweller that lives happily in a serene corner of the ocean and has no recollection of her past. Her idyllic life is suddenly disturbed by an odd event and she discovers that a dark mystery waits for her in the world beyond her small corner of paradise.
While the story and setting are both refreshing, Aquaria’s gameplay is fairly familiar and can best be compared to Metroid. You’ll swim from one area of the world to the next earning abilities that grant access to new areas while the mystery behind what happened to Naija’s world and her past starts to unravel. While I’m a fan of Metroidvania-type games, all that traveling can get a bit tedious at times. Some of that tedium is abated thanks to a warp system and the interesting way Naija activates her abilities. In Naija’s world there is a force that runs throughout known as “The Verse”. Naija is so attuned to this force that she can manipulate it through songs that allow her to lift objects, transform, and summon aid. Fortunately, all the songs can be accessed from the menu so there’s no need to memorize or write them all down somewhere. While it might sound silly to get your powers through a little ditty, it fits perfectly into the game and gives it a more unique feel.
Aquaria delivers an engaging and interesting story with some fantastic visuals, a great soundtrack, and a unique ability mechanic. I definitely recommend giving it a playthrough.