Aquaria is an award-winning action-adventure game set in a massive underwater world teeming with life and filled with ancient secrets. Join Naija, a lone underwater adventurer, as she travels from hidden caves shrouded in darkness, to beautiful, sunlit oases in search of her past.
User reviews: Very Positive (701 reviews) - 90% of the 701 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Dec 7, 2007

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"Explore a beautiful underwater world with Naija and help her recover her lost memories. Most importantly, there is a sushi based crafting system."

About This Game

Aquaria is an award-winning action-adventure game set in a massive underwater world teeming with life and filled with ancient secrets. Join Naija, a lone underwater adventurer, as she travels from hidden caves shrouded in darkness, to beautiful, sunlit oases in search of her past. She'll uncover hidden treasures, explore uncharted waters, and do battle with massive underwater beasts to learn the truth about her family and reveal the secret of Aquaria.
  • Massive, beautiful world to explore
  • Compelling story woven through beautiful visuals, music and voice-overs
  • Innovative mouse-based control scheme and magic-based combat
  • 175 unique creatures to discover, interact and do battle with
  • Dozens of treasures to attain
  • Cooking system for creation of powerful items
  • Unlock all the Steam Achievements

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows 2000/XP/Vista
    • Processor: 1.8 Ghz
    • Memory: 256MB
    • Graphics: OpenGL Compatible Graphics Card
    • Hard Drive: 225MB
Helpful customer reviews
11 of 15 people (73%) found this review helpful
21.4 hrs on record
Posted: June 1
Great metroidvania.

Doesn't feature platforming as you are underwater so you have to swim. Combat could be more challenging for my taste, minus some boss fights. Some puzzles are weird but you can get through most of them with ease. Story and especially exploration are the game's strongest points alongside the graphics and the soundtrack which create a very atmospheric enviroment.
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6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
20.4 hrs on record
Posted: November 18
TL;DR: Beautiful medroidvania-style exploration action-adventure in a mysterious aquatic setting with moderate combat system and fresh-feeling story.

World of wonders

Aquaria is a hidden yet rough gem: it's got a beautiful shell that sweeps your legs off, overwhelms you with its enormous world and then drowns you in to its wonderful setting. Frankly, I was unaware it even existed before I started seriously playing through my Library to discover just hidden gems like this. I wonder how it could have flown under my radar for so long. On with the review:

In Aquaria you play as Naija, a barely feral humanoid sea creature with magic singing powers and vague memory of her earlier life. Curiosity gets hold of her and she heads to the outside world to see its wonders. The world proves to be both a beautiful and a grim place. Aquaria plays like a medroidvania but (almost) entirely in an aquatic environment, thus requiring none of the usual platforming skills.

For starters, the game is astonishingly beautiful, in both cut scenes and in-game. Aquatic environment is a tranquil place, full of weeds, plants and critters, many of them malicious. Soundtrack is nice and fits the theme marvellously. Voice acting is surprisingly good for a game with (almost) only the lonesome main character articulating by herself. It is used excellently to set the mood of mystery and wonder. The game encourages you to just hang around in its calm, alien world. Sometimes, an eerie, malicious laughter in the distance breaks the illusion of tranquility - who is that and why is he laughing?

Just about everything about the storyline and setting is tightly knitted into the lore and many things only become clear close to the end. The intro cut scene itself is confusing as its significance only becomes apparent late into the game.

So much to see...

In the beginning a while is spent simply exploring the limited area and trying to figure out what to do. The ever-present exploration aspect is both cool and dull: while the environment is pretty and contains a lot of interesting features and stuff to find, the whole scope of it is initially overwhelming. It takes a while to get through the slow start. Fortunately there's a map and you can easily mark interesting/unreachable areas.

Like expected in a good medroidvania, it takes a while to find out how to use the environmental features to your advantage and find a means to proceed into the areas previously unreachable. This makes returning to the known areas rewarding.

To reach those areas Naija may learn to take different forms that grant her special abilities like shooting homing fire bolts or fitting into tight spaces. The forms (and a couple of spells) are accessed through singing magic, though there are keyboard shortcuts for the numerous forms. The special abilities are used also in combat.

So much to fight...

Fighting is simple, almost to a point of dull: shoot until enemy dies, sometimes removing/destroying the shield first, and avoid getting hit by projectiles or touched by enemies. It works but it sure could use some twists. The enemies are invariably sea creatures of various kinds but bosses are sea monsters or downright fallen gods of enormous size.

Boss monsters (which are a dozen) usually require one to make them expose their weak spot in some way and then shooting it as fast as you can. In effect fighting some bosses is more like a puzzle into itself as you look for their weak spot and study their attack patterns, which are just 2-3 per boss. Many bosses have also a fascinating background in the lore, though some are just nasty creatures who want to kill you.

The later bosses are better and more challenging (even difficult), while the earlier ones might be killed simply by dodging or blocking their bullet storm-like attacks and shooting like a madman. The later bosses may take several tries to survive, especially the final boss who has several forms and no saves between.

The scarcity of save points is a major fault: with the long distances between areas and the menacing world one would hope for frequent saves but there's usually just one per area. While death does not happen too often, when you do die you lose all progress since the last save, which can be infuriating if it was a while back. It also forces for rather long game sessions since you don't always know when you can save the next time. Food crafting, i.e. cooking, can be used to create healing and buff items that can sometimes help through the most dangerous situations to avoid losing progress.

It's not a perfect place

The world of Aquaria is an enormous place with several biomes from amazing reed forests to fallen aquatic cities to pitch-dark caves. Several times I would just stop momentarily and enjoy the marvellous vista.

While mostly placed underwater, there are a couple of less-than traditional platforming sections later into the game. Wall-jumping is unfortunately way unreliable, especially since the same mechanic is used to travel on land. There's no way (that I could see) to control the strength of the pounces, making it hard to judge where Naija would land. Good news is that these sections are mostly optional and sparse.

Another qualm but a stupid one at that: it took me over an hour to get the first achievement, granted for reaching open waters. Aquaria could well have been more generous with achievements, especially in the beginning but also at the end, where you e.g. don't get one for beating the game or seeing the secret ending.

Yet it is graceful

Nevertheless, after 20 hours I had completed the game and found all the secrets, though a few treasures remain hidden (why no cheevo for collecting them all?). Game had three instances where I unfortunately needed to use a walkthrough because I had totally missed the sheer existence of the puzzle despite them hiding in plain sight.

To be fair in two of the cases I felt like a fool afterwards for missing them. Perhaps in a less hectic age I would have had the patience to loiter around and eventually figure them out myself. The third one, however, was well put by the guide I read as "one of the least obvious puzzles ever" and I doubt I would have ever come across its solution except by sheer accident.

The atmosphere was tranquil throughout and I found myself being relaxed in all but the tensest of situations. The storyline (with the secret ending) was surprisingly grim and contains a cliffhanger. Unfortunately, a true sequel is unlikely since the devs have gone their separate ways, but the mod community is producing a spiritual sequel.

Reminiscent of some beautiful adventure games of old, after the slow start I enjoyed it tremendously despite its flaws. I encountered only a couple of crashes during the whole playthrough, both after several hours of playing. Game has aged well (being 8 years old at the moment). Though there are good sales for it one might even get it for its current full price (10 €) - it is only a shame it doesn't have Cards since I would gladly create a badge to show my support.
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6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
21.5 hrs on record
Posted: September 5
One of the greatest indie games ever made. Stunning visuals, addictive and gorgeous music, unique gameplay, a fairly original story, all wrapped up in one beautiful package!

I do not feel bad about having to buy it at full price either. DEFINITELY worth checking out.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
33.0 hrs on record
Posted: September 12
An incredible 2d open-world swimulator with beautiful presentation and a high difficulty curve. Seriously, this game doesn't make it easy for you. Exploration is a double-edged sword; one wrong turn and you're dead. Don't even get me started on the boss fights. Few games have filled me with so much trepidation and awe. For hardcore gamers only.
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97 of 103 people (94%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
49.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 25, 2013
Incredible, atmospheric experience and a work of art.

from the design standpoint Aquaria is a Metroidvania 2D game with big underwater world to explore. Those ideas aren't that special on paper, but the strange mix of climactic locations, fitting music and hand-drawn graphics makes this title not only joy to look and hear, but makes so much impact on the player that after you finish the game you will know that is one of the best indie games out there yet to be recognized by most of gaming community.

The story is simple, but it is told extremely well by the voice of the main protagonist as you play the game. It starts out interesting, but it ends up strongly heart-touching. The plot is slowly revealed through the game and the next surprise around the corner will be bigger than the former. Also, in my opinion, Naija is one of the best written female characters in video game industry up to date.

Aquaria is an open world and you must figure out most of the gameplay mechanics all by yourself. Some tactics for beating some bosses are kind of tricky, so this isn't the game for people that are not so fond of the more exploration-oriented games. The start of this game isn't as fast as you would want to, but if you will give it some time you will be hooked straight to the finish. Game is around 12-20 hours long and there are lots of non-mandatory things to find. This is not a small game by any means.

Aquaria had a bad luck that it came before the Braid's indie games boom. Don't miss this one. It's a powerful gem hidden in the sea.
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