4 Hugues Ross - Blog: Games I Play #5: Aquaria
Hugues Ross


Games I Play #5: Aquaria

When I play games for these posts, there are many things that factor into how I treat the game in the end. Of all of these traits, good and bad, the simplest test that I've found for separating the best games from the others is to play them and see if they delay my writing for several hours. Such is the case with this weeks game, Aquaria. This post is being written at 10:00 pm, right before I go to bed(I'm a very early riser). I think that sort of delay speaks tomes.

The Good:
This is going to be a long section.

To start with, the visuals are gorgeous. The game sports a wonderfully detailed 2d visual with just the right amount of graphical flair to create some truly gorgeous landscapes. The world, the creatures-hell, even the freaking save points look good!(No, really, I think many of the save points look quite pretty and have just enough differences to be noticeable) You might think that my reaction is just because I'm a sucker for 2d, which I totally am, but I encourage you to see for yourself just how detailed and beautiful the game can be. At least from the visuals, this game's a work of art. To complement this, the game allows for tons of exploration. The game often opens the world to you in massive chunks, and there are huge and varied environments everywhere, filled with a wide variety of creatures. They range all the way from the boringly mundane to the utterly fantastical, and they all share the same attention to detail that the rest of the game does. The variety doesn't end there, either. From what I've played of Aquaria, the different powers that you slowly obtain all feel quite unique. Not only do they change your appearance, but they all feel solid enough to base your strategy around, and useful enough to have their own special time and place.

The Bad:
While the game does give you tons of room to explore, it generally stops you just short. Overall, it makes it feel just about impossible to sequence break at all. In such an exploration and discovery-heavy game, this makes me rather sad. I suppose it's the sort of problem that most of these 'metroidvania' type games face. To make their upgrades feel necessary, and give the player such a feeling of growth, they arbitrarily force you down a linear path to the end. Of course, this is all unimportant if you can't even play the game decently, and I was surprised at how resource-heavy it seemed considering its age. The steam page recommends at least 256mb of RAM, but my older desktop at home with all of its' 4gb got some rather noticeable framerate issues here and there. Most modern computers should have no problem with it, but some older ones may run into similar problems. The game also spikes a bit in difficulty fairly early on, and might make a few early sections pretty frustrating.

Overall, if you enjoy a good, unique, and gorgeous adventure with plenty of action and lore, look no further. This game provides all of that in great quantities, and the experience feels very polished overall. Also, like most indie games, the price is quite affordable at $9.99.
You can buy the game here.

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