Aqualibrium Review

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Title: Aqualibrium
Developer: Archifishal Software
Game Type: PlayStation Mobile
Download: 13 MB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download 

EU Availability: Digital Download
PSTV Support: No

More PlayStation Mobile is coming in for the site, and you can thank the rest of the following for that!  With such a short amount of time left until the closure, people are looking around the net to find out which games are great and which ones are not.  Not too long ago, I reviewed a Free-To-Play game called Savior Sammie, at the request of that game’s developer.

Not long after that review went live, I was approached by a member of the site’s following, requesting a review on another game.  This wasn’t a developer, but just a fan.  It has been ages since I’d gotten a review request outside of the closer followers, so I checked the game out and have some coverage for you.  Another partially Free-to-Play game in the PS Mobile library, here is my review of Aqualibrium!

Story

Due to this game not having a story, this section shall remain blank.

Gameplay

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Aqualibrium is a puzzle game that dives into the mechanics of water-flow, which is something I’ve not seen in a puzzle game on the Vita, or in general.  This isn’t a genre of its own, though, so we will classify the game as a puzzle game with physics and combat elements involved.

The game plays through in stages and difficulties.  The game has three different difficulty settings to choose from and 40 stages you can play through.  The one thing to note about the game is that it is only partially Free-to-Play.  The first 10 stages can be played, but you have to unlock Stages 11-40 by going on the PlayStation Network and purchasing it.  It’s not a lot of money, but it does cost a little to play through the entire game.

Actually playing through the game has you on a 2D Plan where you can move in any direction as you go through it.  The place is almost like a maze, with tight corners and certain pathways can only be traversed by you and others can only be traversed by the enemies that are around to hamper your progress.  The ultimate goal is to find drained sections where water is building up.  Once you take out a drain, the water will flow down.

The goal is to make the water flow down into a container in the middle of the floor.  You will have to set up blocks (which you have a limited supply of) or position yourself to get as much water in the right area as possible.  Because of this, it is advised that you explore the stage first and try to predict where the water is going for the most efficient method of getting it where you want.  This is mostly because you’re on a time limit and on the higher difficulties, you have even less time to complete the task.

The game starts out pretty simple, but the further you go, the harder things get.  Some stages can be done on the fly, but the later stages will require a lot more ingenuity than just unplugging the drains and putting one or two blocks up.  It’s a very simple game, but it can be a nice little puzzle for your brain at the same time.

With the way it goes, though, there’s not a lot of content available.  Each stage only takes 1-2 minutes to go through, so don’t expect to spent more than 1 or 2 hours until you’ve finished all of the stages that are available to you.  You can go back and do the different difficulty settings, but there’s not a lot of extra stuff to do.

Controls

The controls for the game are very simple to use.  The first thing to know is that the game has no touch controls.  Everything you do is done with the physical buttons on the PS Vita.  Another thing to note is that this is not one of the PS Mobile games compatible with the PlayStation TV.

Most of the controls are done with the D-Pad, which is used for movement.  The rest is with the face buttons, which are used for placing blocks and firing weapons when you find them to fend off enemies.  They’re very, very simple controls.  The game does a nice job at explaining them for gameplay.  However, some of the buttons are swapped around in the menus and it is more of a learning experience to figure out what does what.

Presentation

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The visuals are set in a very retro pixel-based design.  The game is set up with very basic 2D visuals and looks like something taken from the NES era.  It pulls this off well.  However, there are some areas where the game won’t load the image correctly at first and you’ll see a screen that looks like partial static (like on an old TV set when you’re on a channel that doesn’t exist).  The only other thing of note is that the game has absolutely no background music.  All of it is just sound effects.

The way the game plays is a bit in question, but not to a large scale.  When the game first loads, the menu is pretty glitch.  At certain points, you have to wait several seconds after the menu loads before the button commands will do anything.  The gameplay doesn’t have this happen, but the menu does this pretty much every time you go through it.

Actual gameplay runs fine.  There is a steady flow and it doesn’t lag much, if at all.  The biggest part of the presentation is the glitch menu sections.

Summary

Aqualibrium is another of the last PlayStation Mobile games around.  On the downside, you have to pay extra for most of the game, there isn’t very much content to the game, the menu is quite glitchy, and there’s no background music to listen to as you play.  If you can manage to get past the lack of sound and the menus, this proves to be a fun little puzzler to waste some time. 

6/10

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