Review | Aqua
Format: Xbox 360 | Genre: Action | Publisher: Microsoft | Developer: Games Distillery | Release Date: 19/05/2010 | Price: 800 MS Points
Jennifer Allen swims away with AQUA.
THERE’S A lot to be said in favour of shallow gaming. While recent releases such as Red Dead Redemption and Heavy Rain have tried to redefine their respective genres by creating a more cinematic experience, other games are quite happy to sit back and stick to what they know. This is clearly the case with Aqua, a game that never tries to be anything more than a mindless twin-stick shooter.
It’s not that Aqua isn’t enjoyable. It does provide a few hours of mindless fun. It’s just absolutely nothing overly memorable. It’s throwaway gaming in every sense of the word. Once you’ve completed its rather brief story mode, you’ll probably delete it off your hard drive, because there’s simply no reason to return.
It’s easy to get to grips with Aqua. The left stick controls the movement of your naval ship, while the right stick fires in the direction you aim at. There’s a scattering of different weapons to acquire along the way, such as a Gatling gun and shotgun, but there’s not a huge difference between the types. The addition of torpedoes and mines makes things slightly more varied, but not by any great amount.
The story is as simple as the rest of the game. You control Captain Grey in his efforts to defeat the Gotheans. While the story is described through some quirky steampunk animations, there’s no real context given to the events. As things progress in the plot, the less enthralling it becomes. This isn’t helped by the atrocious dialogue, voiced by some very dodgy acting talent.
In short doses, it’s reasonable fun. Unfortunately, that fun only exists until you realise quite how repetitive Aqua really is. The 2D map layouts are terribly simplistic, with missions typically consisting of either escorting an ally ship somewhere or travelling alone and destroying everything in your wake. Rocket science this isn’t.
But it does make it a decent game to drop into when you want something brainless and unchallenging to play, although the escort missions do get infuriating at times. There are some basic customisation options too, but they really didn’t make much of a difference. The local multiplayer functionality is similarly pointless.
The real gimmicky bonus to Aqua is that it makes good use of the various unlockables available on the Xbox 360. There’s a range of avatar clothing and gamerpics to acquire, with the Naval Uniform particularly satisfying to gain.
But other than the lingering satisfaction of new virtual clothing, it’s a distinctly forgettable time with Aqua. It might be fun while you play through the campaign, but turn that console off and you’ll have forgotten what you ever saw in it.