Diving Into Aquaria

Posted May 31 2007, 12:00 AM


I have to be honest, having this job is good, especially when I get to test out all the games before the public release. The job is only the better when this 2D scrolling fanatic got his hands on the underwater adventure game Aquaria.
Like Ulysses, in Homer's epic poem the Odyssey, you too might have to be tied to the mast when you hear of Ambrosia's newest singing aquatic heroine. Because this game is amazing, addictive, and unfortunately not available.
Like the sirens from that great tale, this little character uses songs to get what she wants. It's no surprise that this is the Winner of the Independent Games Festival's Seumas McNally Grand Prize. From the moment you start the game, you are swallowed up by the sea, the sounds, and the stunning visuals.
Aquaria is a non-linear side-scrolling game that is extremely easy to pick up and learn. The game progresses gradually, so you don't have to worry about combat until you're prepared. You play as Naija, a lonely sea creature who has led a simple, feral life - never questioning the strange world around her. That is until one fateful day, when a mysterious figure appears - inspiring Naija to begin a journey to undercover the history of Aquaria. 



The ruins of this once great civilization are everywhere, and as you play through the game you uncover abilities and songs to help you move through the entire world of Aquaria.



Each song is sung by notes you access while holding down a single key or mouse button. Some songs interact with the environment itself helping you lift boulders, open doors and affect the creatures around you...



...while others actually change Naija to different forms to battle baddies, swim faster, or simply light the ways in times of darkness.



The levels are vast, with tunnels, caves and seemingly endless corners to explore. Each area has such a distinct look, that it's hard to imagine that this was created only by two determined individuals.



This is the truest nature of what Ambrosia's games are meant to be: Fun and unique - with additive, elegant game play. The developers are working as quickly as they can to finish this game, and I know the public will be extremely excited about getting their flippers, fins, fingers on this underwater fantasy adventure.  

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