Sunday, November 4, 2012

Mini Game Review - Aquaria on X1000

Continuing on my recent interest in X1000 gaming front, this weekend I discovered a game called Aquaria by Bit Blot. I had never heard of this game until yesterday and now I love it! Let's take a closer look!

Aquaria was ported to AmigaOS4 in late 2010 and is available for download for free from Please note that this website does restrict downloads to around 30k per second so it will take quite some time to download. They also have a lot of other games of interest too but it is not the focus of this review!

Originally released for Windows and Macintosh back in 2007, it is also recently available on iPad too.

Please note that you do need to have MiniGL support for this game to work, which means if you are running an X1000 you need to have a dual graphics card setup with a Radeon 9250 PCI graphics card and firmware update. I have included more detailed information on this process and how to set up the X1000 Dual graphic card configuration in my previous blog entry here.

Once you have unarchived the downloaded game, you need to run the included Install Support Libs installer icon in the Aquaria folder to install libraries necessary for the game to work. It will also backup you current libraries (it tells you this) to restore back if needed:

In this game you control Naija, an underwater dweller looking for her family. The game is set underwater and you use your left mouse button to move Naija around the various caves, collecting clues and avoiding enemies.

During the game there is a voice over from Naija which helps you get started and explains how to do things such as singing, combinations, restoring energy and saving your game position.

Below are some gameplay screenshots. When you click the right mouse button some icons appear. If you keep the mouse button pushed down and move the mouse around the icons clockwise or anticlockwise, Naija sings a tune which attracts other creatures to help you. In addition, this is also how you can sing a spell when you collect spells during the game.

You can access your spells and what combination of singing notes are needed to reproduce it in the Spell Menu, accessible by pressing the ESC key during play:

Next, if you double click on the Circle map icon on the bottom right of the normal gameplay screen you can view the map of the cave system you are in. This helps orient yourself to find which way you need to go to get to the end of one cave system to another:

Below I am descending deep into the cave system. On the left is a orange flower. This matches the flower icon in the right click Sing Menu. If you sing that note when close to the flower, the flower opens and you can get a new spell! The colours and graphics are wonderful and suit the game very well:

In places the cave system gets quite dark and moody with some fish that can kill you quickly if you touch them:

When you reach a save game point Naija will let you know so you can save your game progress:

Along the way you meet some interesting characters - in this case you are briefly transformed into a different type of creature which is a lead on to later in the game. Unfortunately I didn't make it far enough yet to see what that is:

The graphics are beautiful and the level of detail is high. The speed of the game is good and no noticeable slowdown I could see during my testing of it.

The background music is soothing, high quality and enjoyable, and the singing Naija does during the game complements the music perfectly. You can even listen to all the songs and download the Aquaria game music soundtrack composed by Alec Holowka for USD$5 here. I bought it because I really liked the music in the game.

The gameplay is simple but there is a lot to this game exploring the caves, learning spells and more things I didn't get to yet..

I surprised myself playing this as 3 hours went past really quickly - it hooked me in I admit! I appreciate this type of game may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I have to say I really enjoyed it.

Aquaria is highly recommended!

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