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:
Overall:
Very Positive (758 reviews) - 91% of the 758 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Dec 7, 2007

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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
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Overall:
Very Positive (758 reviews)
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584 reviews match the filters above ( Very Positive)
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
67.8 hrs on record
Posted: September 26
It may have been some time since I played this game but,
The music alone is compelling enough to buy this game, and is a large
part of game feel, and control.Scenery along with the music
is beautiful. The Story is good and engaging, combat is
aggravating at times but once one figures how to fight, it is quite enjoyable.

This game is well worth the cost and time one will put into it and is
really worth finishing.
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2 of 6 people (33%) found this review helpful
1 of 8 people (13%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
18.5 hrs on record
Posted: September 3
One of the best exploration games i played, easily the worst exploration game i played. Interesting world to explore, nicely designed abilities to progress. Absolutely abominable atrocious and the worst i've ever seen and will see boss fights easily ruin the whole game. Savepoint system that reloads your last save when you die so you need to redo everything you've done since you saved and most bosses are quite far from savepoints or include a time consuming corridor to finally do a refight. Bosses themselves have most counterintuitive and "what the ♥♥♥♥ should i do to kill you?" strategies EVER and deal ♥♥♥♥tons of damage, so you waste hours of time to simply find out what the ♥♥♥♥ the developer wants from you and to get to the boss from the savepoint when he kills you. Last ♥♥♥♥ing boss has FIVE phases, deals half to full of your health bar of damage and has stupid mechanics like "get in front of a oneshot ability to damage him and good luck surviving". On top of that you absolutely MUST use keyboard to switch between your forms otherwise you have to do a stupid notes spell on a controller while standing still in the middle of ♥♥♥♥ wanting to destroy you. I really wanted to finish the game despite the rage inducing boss fights, but ♥♥♥♥ it, ♥♥♥♥ this game, ♥♥♥♥ the developer, ♥♥♥♥ everything, i quit.
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
117 of 123 people (95%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
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 also leave so big 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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60 of 67 people (90%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
31.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 23, 2014
Short Verdict: Wow. Aquaria is a stunningly beautiful metroidvania indie game published back in 2007, but it's still a pearl! I literally dove into it from the moment I started and I really had a blast. I'm very thankful to Jaws for not only trading it with me, but also for recommending it. If you like metroidvanias, indie games and pretty 2D graphics, don't miss this one for nothing! Oh, make sure you play it with a controller, since it's a lot better (except menus, which are easier to navigate with a mouse).

Pros:
Oh, where to start....
  • Very interesting mechanic, where you can transform into different forms, each with its specialty and abilities that unlock more and more of the world
  • A HUGE world for you to explore and swim around
  • Has a great, deep story that pushes you to keep going
  • Lots of treasures, costumes, energy boosts, pets, songs, ingredients and food recipes for you to collect
  • I think it's safe to say that its difficulty level is absolutely perfect--not insanely hard, but don't be fooled by the cute graphics, this game is not a walk in the park either
  • Very interesting boss fights--while they depend on your skills, they're first and foremost puzzles
  • Being able to fill the map with customizable markers is not only a great feature, but also necessary if you want to master the game without looking (too much on) FAQs
  • Absolutely gorgeous 2D graphics
  • Awesome BGM with many different great tracks
  • Great voice acting, even if you compare it to mainstream games
  • If you're into it, there are even some interesting mods, mainly Sacrifice (a story-driven prequel) and Labyrinth (a small sequel focused on, you guessed, a labyrinth map)

Cons:
  • Aquaria's world is so huge it might take a lot of time when you have to backtrack to explore old areas after acquiring new forms/abilities. There are travel turtles that carry you around (also seahorses you can ride for faster shorter movements), but I think there could've been at least twice as much turtles for a world that size. Also, being able to choose your destiny instead of having to cycle through them would be great. I didn't have to use them a lot, but it was kind of boring when I had.
  • Controls for when you're out of the water are a bit too clumsy for me. Of course they should be a bit clumsy, since you're supposed to live in the water, but they could've been better.

Bought on / for: I actually traded for another bundle key/link I had. But this game is definitely worth its full price!
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48 of 55 people (87%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
Posted: November 11, 2013
A relic from an era of £15 Indie titles that your average gamer would never seek out because they were usually hidden away on the developers home page without much aplomb.

Now Steam is chock full of titles and Humble Bundle/Indie Royale throw them out two to the penny. The golden era of the Indies has arrived!

Unfortunately this title and many others like it are left in the dusty past, forgotten, unloved. Give it a go and you'll be rewarded with a charming little foray into an aquatic wonderland the likes of which haven't been seen since the clicks and whistles of Ecco the Dolphin dazzled you on the Dreamcast.
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40 of 45 people (89%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
24.0 hrs on record
Posted: December 9, 2013
I wake up in a wonderful underwater world. It’s magical, large and full wonderful things to discover. I have no clue how I got here or why I am the only one besides the normal sea creatures. I am Naija, a beautiful mermaid-like woman, trying to discover the past and find out what happen to everyone else.

Aquaria is a 2D underwater adventure where you need to recover your past and find out what happen to everyone else. All other intelligent life seems to have been wiped out and you can’t remember anything. What discoveries and treasures will you find on your large adventure?

You will discover songs that will give you special powers to help you on your journey. You can get one that will shoot like a fire blast, another which will let you swim against strong currents, or one that will let you light up deep dark caverns. You can earn these by fighting bosses or finding them in hidden caves. You will also need to learn recipes that will help heal you and give your powers a boost. These are all found when dropped from defeated enemies or plants you can pop by certain music tones.

It’s a beautiful world of varieties of sea creatures that range from friendly to violent. Everything looks really colorful and vibrant. The world under the sea is very large and when you think you’ve discovered everything you discovered another huge area. You’ll have plenty of backtracking to find all the hidden secrets in the old-school Metroid style. Get a new power and go back to a previous area to access new areas.

There wasn’t really any problems with the game in my opinion. I do wish the final fight was a little better but it wasn’t really an issue. I also wish I was able to zoom in on the map a little more as sometimes it was hard to see where I needed to go. Those are minor issues though and never pulled me out of the experience.

Aquaria is a low priced indie game that is superb and wonderful to play. You have a good story with a twist, beautiful world to explore, fantastic music, and many hours of enjoyment. I sank 24hrs into the game and enjoyed every minute of it. There’s also some mods you can download to add more to the game if you’d like.

Bear Rating 9.5/10
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37 of 41 people (90%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
Recommended
19.0 hrs on record
Posted: March 7, 2015
I know it says I've only played 15 hours on steam, but that's because I only bought the steam version recently(ish). The truth is, this is my favorite indie game of all time. Minecraft, Gone Home, Bastion, Transistor...nothing can compare to how falling in love with this game felt when I was a young lad.

The User-defined tags should tell you everything you need to know about the gameplay: Metroidvania-styled level design, 2D underwater adventure, the works. But that's not why I love this game so much. This game is absolutely BEAUTIFUL. From its hand-painted graphics to its organic sounding music, from its triumphant title screen to its emotional ending, from the belly of the whale to the top of the Veil, from its simple controls to its hidden depths, from its quiet emotional moments to its larger-than-life boss battles...everything about this game stirs something within me, something that no game has really ever managed to reach before or since.

If you're jaded about the glut of early access ZombieSim Survivorsims, artsy-fartsy walking around simulators, blocky beep-boop bullet hell shooters that anyone could make, you owe it to yourself to play Aquaria. It's a shining gem of a game, one that holds the true worth of independent game development.

Oh, and you can make soup and hand rolls underwater.
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31 of 33 people (94%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
20.4 hrs on record
Posted: November 18, 2015
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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33 of 38 people (87%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
38.4 hrs on record
Posted: April 13, 2015
A quite expansive underwater adventure, with a gameplay emphasis on exploration, and an aesthetic focus on atmospherics, which are done very, very well. You play as a lone character who seeks to uncover the truth about her past and the secrets of the world around her. Her characteristic ability is being able to sing magical songs that grant her abilities.

The game is very well-designed under the vein of letting the you, the player, figure things out on your own, and make your own discoveries. There are many features that are not outright explained, but are revealed to you if you wish to discover them, and this includes both narrative and gameplay features (e.g. decoding the Aquarian script, and riding seahorses). This arrangement fits very well with the narrative. The game also works well as a pick-up-and-play experience, with little needed in the way of previous genre or gameplay experience, which is nice (and also fits with this of gradual discovery).

The narrative, a story about gradual discovery of the past, the truth, and the meaning of one's own life, is also very nice. It's not too wordy, which is appropriate for a story like this one that's introspective. I felt the story was a little weak at the end, but the music and art made up for it. In any case, the game serves well the principle of "show, don't tell".

The soundtrack is very brilliant, beautiful, and memorable. For music theory geeks like me, it may be a little sparse on diversity of tonalities, but there's a reason for that, and that's to make the music match up to the singable tones. Fun fact: if you can recognize keys, you might also catch when Naija sings different tones. For another fun activity, pick out the leitmotifs.

The art is very detailed, and also very beautiful. Most of the areas are simply gorgeous to look at. You might even find yourself sitting on a chair or a rock and taking in the scenery and soundtrack. Character animations may be a tiny bit stiff at times, but that is a negligible issue considering the sheer beauty of the art. It unfolds like a fairy tale...

For those of you who feel that there ought to be some more combat in the game -- well, there certainly is; one of the earliest abilities you get is a combat ability, and there are certainly many enemies to fight later on, including several pretty difficult bosses. Though you may find yourself asking philosophical questions about the role of combat, as I did...

There's also an item crafting system wherein you can "cook" ingredients to get food items that can do healing or temporarily boost abilities. It's also quite extensive, and has many opportunities for discovery through experimentation if you're interested in that.

Backtracking in this game is a little tedious at times, but you later on get abilities that allow faster movement, so I suggest waiting on backtracking until you get those. Keep in mind that the map allows you to set multiple colored markers indicating features that you'd like to return to -- which is a really, really nice thing that I actually haven't yet seen another metroidvania game do.

TL;DR much to explore, much to discovery, brilliant top-notch atmospherics. Definitely recommended.

(Disclosure: I acquired this game as part of the Humble Introversion Bundle.)
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Recently Posted
Pache
34.1 hrs
Posted: September 28
Good idea, but flawed implementation.
Story is interesting, but it's told in most unengaging way possible, and most interesting moment of it happens only if you find three certain things and complete the game. Said moment is cliffhanger, by the way. Also, message about killing is completely out-of-place and hypocritical. And point where you find supporting character is mishandled so much I think it was a mistake or something - heroine strives to find sentient life, finds it, and game shoves it away like "All right, here's other item for you, off to next area with you, fishgirl".
Art is excellent, but animation is horrible, flash-like and clunky.
Music is nice - probably only not flawed part of game.
Gameplay is good, but suffers greatly from weird design choises:
1) Transportation between explored zones is tedious, as turtles are uncontrollable and very rare. Nature Form's bulbs would solve problem, but, alas, they are used in fewer places and usually for secrets you must return to later. And spamming space for minutes at end is not really interesting.
2) Save points are rare too.
3) Fighting is abysmal, and quickly makes one evade it at all costs. Clicking right mouse one thousand times to kill anything is boring.
4) Cooking is nice addition, but out of 40+ recipies you need only healing/speed/damage. About 10 at most. All else is useless. Also, ingridients are too rare to use cooking effectively.
5) Padding/filler is out of control. Large areas are empty, serve no purpose other than eye-candy (which you can find elsewhere), but are required to be traversed since exit is on other side of this loooooooong cave.
6) About killing - message about it would be meaningful is Naija wasn't nemesis of every single creature around. Mad fishmen, I understand, they are ferocious and all that. But fish, animals and so on all have thirst for players blood too, despite living in lush world with plenty of food to eat. Not that they must be peaceful, but they are way too agressive.
7) Song mechanic is dreadfully underused, since quick shortcuts are just better.

All in all, it's nice game, but as far as Steam Reviews go, I can't 'recommend' it. There are better metroidvanias out there. But, if you can afford it, try it? It's not bad as in "I want my money back", it's "Welp, this was underwhelming".
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Mozai
40.8 hrs
Posted: September 19
Scratches that Super-Metroid itch, pleasant atmosphere, though the boss fights can be a slog.
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Obey the Fist!
0.2 hrs
Posted: September 13
Do not buy: Overscan/DPI scaling issues prevent this game displaying on modern gaming monitors (greater than 100% scaling/greater than HD resolution).

The developers no longer update this product. Not compatible with modern PCs.
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jbaribeault
1.5 hrs
Posted: September 7
Creatively executed game! I'm not too far in (about 2 hours) but already am quite immersed. Reminds me a lot of Ekko? the dolphin back on Sega. My daughters are loving it too. Controller is a MUST!
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jens1101
14.7 hrs
Posted: August 31
This game is surprisingly good. Definately worth it, especially if you want to play something different for a change.

I first heared about this game through its OST. After hearing a few tracks on youtube I got intrigued and decided to learn more about the game. Needless to say I was not disappointed, the music really does the game justice.

It has aged quite well; almost 10 years after release and it's still good. The game handles extremely well and the sounds are just gorgeous. The graphics are good, but I feel it could've been more. The only thing that has become dated are the cutscenes; they are not as well animated as I hoped for.

All in all it's still a great game and I highly recommend it.
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Mazurkagurka
25.0 hrs
Posted: August 30
Great metroidvania with amazing atmosphere and beautiful graphics!
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TrainDriving101
0.4 hrs
Posted: August 29
this game's been sitting in my "never going to play" category for a long time and with good reason. not especially interesting in any regard.
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