I’ve bought this game some humble bundle ago, but I played it last week to test the joypad…and I must admit that I’ve been surprised of the beauty of this little game.
Aquaria is a 2D sidescrolling action-adventure computer game designed by the independent game company Bit Blot, which developed and originally published the game. After more than two years of development, the game was released in 2007 for Windows. A Macintosh port was released in 2008 by Ambrosia Software, and an updated version of the game was released on Steam that same year. A Linux version of the game was released as part of the Humble Indie Bundle collection in 2010. More recently, an Android port of the game was released as part of the Humble Bundle with Android 6 collection in June 2013.
As the game opens, Naija has lost almost all of her memories, and is unaware of the world outside of her home as she “lives as a simple creature”. The player is told this in voice-over narrations in the form of a story told by a future Naija. These narrations serve as the primary source of information about Naija throughout the game, though there are occasional cutscenes. After being confronted by a shadowy figure and being shown a series of flashbacks she does not understand, Naija awakens. Feeling loneliness as the only member of her species, Naija decides to explore the world around her.
As the player explores, Naija discovers more and more about the history of the world, “Aquaria”, and about her own past. The game is set in an open world, and the player is not forced to go through the plotline in a set sequence. The only limiting factor is physical barriers such as areas that can only be accessed by using a specific form.
Aquaria is a 2D sidescrolling action-adventure game, heavily focused on exploration and puzzle-solving, with non-linear gameplay. The player controls Naija, a lone underwater dweller; although similar to a human woman, Naija also has several fish-like qualities, such as the ability to breathe underwater and propel herself quickly with webbed feet.
Naija, is in search of her family, as she explores the depths of Aquaria. She’ll travel from hidden caves, shrouded in darkness, to beautiful, sunlit oases, all lovingly handcrafted by its two creators.
Naija’s story, narrated fully with voice overs, will become yours, as you join her on this magnificent adventure.
In general, Naija cannot interact directly with objects in the world. Instead, the majority of actions are accomplished through singing short tunes. The player does this by selecting a series of notes displayed in a circle of eight choices in the correct order. Each note corresponds with a different color. Singing notes affects plants and objects of the same color as the note, while singing the tunes, once learned through the plot, can lift objects, create a shield around Naija, or change Naija into different “forms” which have different appearances and unique abilities critical to overcoming the various challenges and obstacles found in the game. The specific tones that are played when the player selects a note can subtly change in different regions, matching the background music.
Aquaria’s unsung strength though is in cooking. The inventory (accessed from a little icon in the bottom right of the screen) allows you to throw things you’ve found – meats, fins, oils, shrubs – into pans on the right and then combine them. Careful exploration uncovers recipes for new items, which range from simple healers to neat status effects, like speed boosts and even attacking buffs for the little crustacean pet you befriend near the beginning.
Where to get the Game
For Linux users the easiest way to get this nice game is via Steam where you can find it at around 10€.
Or if you feel lucky keep an eye over Humble Bundle maybe the game will come out again.
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