Overall - 65%
The arcade roots of Clockwork Aquario are proudly on display - for better or worse. While it proves to be a fun side-scrolling romp, it is also far too cheap and short for its own good. This time capsule is still worth a go, but even the staunchest side-scrolling fan should be aware of what they’re getting into.
After a record-breaking delay (even beating out Duke Nukem Forever), ININ Games, Strictly Limited games, and Westone have released the arcade title Clockwork Aquario to the masses. Should players set forth in its fantasy world, or should the past stay buried?
Clockwork Aquario Review
Something fishy is happening in the oceanic world of Aquario – the evil Dr. Hangyo is plotting something evil, and it’s up to the green-haired Huck Londo, the pink-haired Elle Moon, and the robot Gush to go out and save the day. Using their platforming skills, players will traverse factories, submarines, and rainbow paradises in an effort to do what is right and fight what is wrong.
However, this heroic trio possesses a unique ability – they can stun enemies and throw them at others. By jumping or punching the right enemies, they will turn a shade of blue that will then allow them to be picked up. From there, players can chuck them in a straight line to other unsuspecting foes.
This works in the early stages when there’s just a few enemies on the screen. Taking on one of the bigger baddies to get a key to unlock the next segment of this side-scroller works as it should. However, boss battles and later stages can be an absolute cluster with multiple threats on the screen at any given time. When there’s boxing gloves, fire, and other baddies to contend with, trying to stun a foe and getting a clear shot is an exercise in futility. Its arcade roots shine though, and those roots demand quarters.
As a result, most players will likely cheese through the tougher segments by making it a DPS battle. By mashing on the punch button for bosses and minibosses, one can get through much of the game just fine. It’s unfortunate that things come to this, but it’s one of those times where the simplest strategy is the one that works. When all else fails, there’s additional power-ups that can be picked up that launch a bevy of stars and can turn the tides quite quickly.
One can also get by through its platforming action. There aren’t a lot of platforms in this platformer, but Clockwork Aquario does have a lot of balloons and baddies to bounce off of. Timing multiple jumps at any given time nets additional points, and there’s plenty of green fish balloons that are just ripe for popping. You don’t get additional height for holding down a button, but the gesture is still appreciated nonetheless.
It’s just a shame that this title is over before it even begins. While it was primarily designed as an arcade title, most players can wrap it up in around 20 minutes. Finishing the game unlocks an arcade mode that has modifiers, but even then it is largely the same game. There’s also a minigame that can be unlocked, but it has little staying power.
Outside of that, there’s little here to keep players captivated. There’s a gallery with 25 items, multiple difficulty settings that give players a set amount of credits, and a soundtrack mode, but these can be wrapped up fairly quickly.
The arcade roots of Clockwork Aquario are proudly on display – for better or worse. While it proves to be a fun side-scrolling romp, it is also far too cheap and short for its own good. This time capsule is still worth a go, but even the staunchest side-scrolling fan should be aware of what they’re getting into.
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